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Use personal protective equipment for farm safety

Kelly Bowe
04.14.19
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You know that farm work is particularly dangerous, but did you know that employees in agriculture have a risk of fatality that is more than double that of the average worker?

Engineering controls are the first line of defense against occupational injury and fatalities. However, these methods do not always offer the maximum protection for workers, so personal protective equipment (PPE) is crucial.

While following all government regulations regarding PPE and maintaining American National Standards where required, it is also important that employees do their part. Become familiar with the types of PPE you may be required to use and why it is essential to health and safety.

Often times, workers don’t wear their safety equipment because it’s a nuisance to put on or because it’s bulky and uncomfortable. It can be tempting not to put PPE on at all unless the safety supervisor is looking, but ultimately, it is up to everyone to be a professional and recognize the life-saving benefits of PPE.

A poorly fitted piece of protective equipment can cause headache or pain, and if it does, have it adjusted or re-fitted. But most of the time, it’s just a matter of getting used to wearing these items.

Foot protection, including steel-toe boots, safety-toe boots, steel-capped boots or safety shoes, is a must for all workers exposed to falling objects and puncture wounds from below. Most shoes will have symbols on the outside to illustrate the type of protection the footwear offers.

Hand and arm protection is one of the most important pieces of PPE in the agricultural industry because of the presence of amputation hazards and harmful materials. Depending on the work you do, you may need leather, canvas, metal mesh, fabric, coated fabric, chemical-resistant or liquid-resistant gloves.

Head protection is required in areas with the danger of impact, falling or flying objects and electrical shock or burn. Be sure to select the proper size and take good care of the equipment.

Full-body protection may be necessary in some cases to completely protect against all harmful agents in the workplace. When full-body protection is required, it should not be taken lightly. It must be worn whenever you are in designated areas.

Hearing protection is often overlooked but is crucial in an agricultural environment to prevent permanent damage. Remember that plain cotton is not an acceptable form of ear protection.

When there is a chance of physical, chemical or radiation damage to the eyes or face, you must wear appropriate PPE. Everyday glasses do not qualify and are no excuse for lack of proper protection—have eye and face PPE that fits over prescription eyewear.

Respiratory protection is a crucial piece of PPE for in an agricultural environment because without it, harmful toxins may enter straight into the body. It is important to understand how to use this PPE properly and what its limitations are. Respiratory protection is especially important when performing work with airborne chemicals, any kind of dust and toxic fumes.

Talk with your Bremer Insurance agent for a full spectrum of farm related insurance needs.

This content is provided for informational purposes only. The information provided herein is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should it be construed as advice regarding coverage. Eligibility for coverage is not guaranteed and all coverages are limited to the terms and conditions contained in the applicable policy. © 2008, 2013 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.