Farm Safety More Than Just Hazards

It’s National Farm Safety and Health Week. There are a lot of different aspects included when it comes to safety. Mary Bauer, OSHA Compliance Assistance Specialist, notes one of the trends they’re seeing when it comes to farm safety is based on language barriers. 

“OSHA has noted a trend in agriculture where more workers are being brought in from outside. This is particularly foreign-born workers,” explains Bauer. “This has led to communication barriers and also cultural differences that can lead to workplace hazards and injuries. To address this, farmers are being advised to transition from a family model to a more employee-based business.”

One of the main challenges in training foreign-born workers is the language barrier. Bauer says simple gestures like learning to say “good morning” or “thank you” in their language can go a long way towards acceptance. In addition to language, hands-on learning is recommended to help workers understand the tasks and expectations better.

She adds, “Part of what we want people to do, is to look at how safety is integrated into each task. That should become a routine discussion whenever a task is assigned.”

Making safety a core value is essential for any operation. There are various training programs and webinars available to help achieve this, including the Safe and Sound Campaign. National Farm Safety and Health Week also focuses on different topics each day. These include equipment safety, health and wellness, priority populations, confined spaces, as well as mental health.

“The motto of this year’s National Farm Safety and Health Week is “No One Can Take Your Place,” explains Bauer. “That’s for the farmer and for the workers. Remaining safe every day is just as important as completing the task.”

Various resources are available to assist farmers in improving workplace safety, including OSHA’s agriculture website

Click here to learn more about National Farm Safety and Health Week.