This June, dairy leaders, farmers and communities from across America will celebrate National Dairy Month. What began 76 years ago as a way to stabilize dairy demand when production was at a surplus, has evolved into an annual traditional of celebrating the important contributions of the dairy industry.
While we take time to honor the dairy producers in our communities, Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance Company encourages producers to mark the occasion by considering the safety of their operations.
"Dairy workers can have a high injury rate," says Jerry Hillard, AVP of Farm Sales, Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance Company, Des Moines, IA. "Taking proper precautions can prevent many accidents. And that can have a bottom-line impact."
By working as a partner with your farm insurance agent, we can help prevent many accidents from happening. Nationwide Agribusiness provides a checklist to help dairy farmers think through risks and exposures. The checklist covers:
- Buildings and structures
- Animal facilities
- Fire protection
- Fuels and chemicals
- Machinery and farm equipment
To get you started, here are a few safety tips from each category:
Buildings and structures
- Keep doors and gates to hazardous areas closed and secured
- Protect outside ramps and steps to prevent rain or other liquids from freezing
- Test backup generators regularly
- Make first aid kits available and post emergency numbers in every building
- Train employees on the safe operation of power crowd gates and entry/exit gates
- Ensure fences, gates and other confining devices are in good working order
- Don't allow children to play in or around barns, pens or feedlots
- Make sure electrical panel covers are in place on circuit breaker boxes, junction boxes and control panels to prevent dust accumulation and exposure to weather
- Ensure workers know the locations of the electrical main, gas and water valves and release valves for hot water heaters
- Use electrical connections in dry areas only
- Install a 10-pound or larger ABC (all-purpose) fire extinguisher in all buildings and barns
- Put in place a maintenance schedule for checking fire extinguishers
- Equip individual ventilation fans in each building with their own circuits and current safety devices. (Overheating barn fan motors are a leading cause of fire in barns and other outbuildings).
- Properly label fuel storage tanks to show contents
- Locate fuel/chemical tanks at least 25 feet from any farm building
- Put in place a documented plan for disposing of empty containers or leftover chemicals
- Inspect all power equipment for proper shielding and guarding
- Require all drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts while operating trucks and cars
- Keep children and non-workers off of and away from machinery and wagons
Creating more safety on your dairy operation is really something to celebrate during National Dairy Month! For more safety information for your dairy, talk to your Nationwide Agribusiness farm agent.