Author: Amy Lynn Samuels-Suha
As I am working on this my teenage daughter is out on the tractor mowing hay. As a mom and a safety professional, this worries me . . . big tractor, a little girl (well not too little), rough terrain, lack of experience, and the list goes on. I think back to when I was her age doing the same thing. Many things have changed in safety in the last few decades. When I was on the farm I don’t think any of our tractors had seat belts, even if they did, we didn’t use them. Or wear hearing protection. Or think about locking the braces under the equipment – after all the hydraulics held it up. We stood on the bucket of the skid steer to reach the barn rafters. And many other things we should not have done. But that is how everyone did things.
Fortunately, awareness and safety have evolved, in the workplace, at home, and on the farm. And my daughter is wearing a seat belt and hearing protection and safety glasses. And she has passed tractor safety. The experience will come.
By reminding our workers about safety and how the in-plant lessons apply at home, we can help prevent accidents both at work and at home. And have a future workforce with a safety culture learned at home, that already is comfortable wearing PPE, and understands that safety is part of the job, integrated into “doing it the right way.”
Work safety topics that apply everywhere:
* Personal Protective Equipment: Hearing protection, Eye protection (safety glasses come in cool colors, fab frames, and as sunglasses)
*Pre-use Check Lists: Check the oil, the fuel, the brakes, are the guards in place, is the tension correct on the drive chain, do you have the right PPE? (just added to my To Do List, make a checklist for tractor and hay mower, after all, she is new to this stuff and does not know what to check, just like the new guy at work)
*Changing blades and sharpening tools, sharp blades and tools are more effective: Wear cut gloves, lock things out – yes, turn off the lawn mower and block/crib it up to change the blades.
*Working under loads, hoist and crane safety applies everywhere gravity exists! 1000 pounds falling from 6 feet is going to do a lot of damage, doesn’t matters if it’s soil in a trench collapse, or a pallet of cheese, or a bale of hay.
*Electrical Safety, just like gravity, electricity presents the same hazards at work and at home: overloaded outlets, undersized extension cords, “daisy chaining” power stripes, and don’t put the fork in the toaster while it’s plugged in, the heating element is an unprotected wire!