Farm Safety Is Everyone's Responsibility
Even with the increase in traffic, apartments, oil wells and people we are still a small rural community that is supported by farming and ranching. This past month and in the months to come you will see the farm fields giving up their crops to be taken to market and increased farm vehicle traffic. Living on farm or ranch is something that many have been doing for generations, it was the farmers and ranchers that help build this community. Although many farmers and ranchers know the dangers they forget to take the time to explain them to the younger generation and even others in our community who may not be familiar with farming and ranching. Yes, with the changes in our community everyone shares the responsibility when it comes to farm safety.
Children who live on ranches & farms need protection from the many elements that pose a risk of injury. These children live and play in a setting that often includes heavy equipment, specialized implements, large animals, grain elevators, chemicals and water areas. In addition, farming parents can frequently find themselves balancing the ongoing and unpredictable demands of ranch & farm work with the important task of supervising and caring for children. Some simple approaches:
Keeping young children away from areas where farm equipment is moving about
Fencing off water holes and other hazardous areas
Properly storing dangerous equipment, tools and chemicals can prevent unintentional accidents and deaths
Inform young children the differences and dangers of real equipment vs. toys
Providing a safe, fenced play area for younger children, can substantially reduce the risk of injury
So many farm & ranch yards are located on county roads that are frequented by large trucks and heavy traffic poising yet another hazard. Those driving on our county roads also need to do their part by driving at a safe speed which allows them to see road hazards, reducing dust to increase site and time to react safely.
Tractors are particularly dangerous, and are responsible for many of the deaths and injuries to children and others on farms & ranches. This includes tractor run-overs, extra-rider run-overs, machinery entanglement, and falls. Make sure you know who is around when operating and moving equipment; and they know your intentions. Tractors travel not only county roads but highways as well when moving from field to field. Other drivers need to be aware that farm & ranch equipment travels at a slower speed and is large and could have parts and pieces protruding from the main body.
We all need to do our part to ensure safety for all. For more information or resources call Richland County Health Department and speak with Mary Sundheim, Injury Prevention Specialist 433-2207. Richland County Injury Prevention Team, helping keep our community safe and healthy.