Winter is coming, and so is the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. Farming is a dangerous occupation year-round, but winter extremes can surely complicate safety and health in agriculture. There is an increased risk of injury during severe weather, often related to slips, trips, and falls.
BE WINTER READY
The Government of Ireland has compiled practical tips for severe weather with their campaign: “Be Winter Ready For Farm Families: You, Your Farm, and the Winter.” These tips certainly apply to those of us in the Upper Midwest. Review and take time to prepare for the upcoming winter months:
Plan for Safety
- Before going out on your land, always tell someone where and how long you will be gone.
- Wear suitable layers of clothing with these recommendations
- Carry a charged mobile phone and a flashlight.
- Clear a number of tracks around the farmyard, treat them with de-icing salt, and keep to these safe walkways.
- Add grit (sand, sawdust, cat litter, pet friendly ice melt) to sloped yards and roadways to provide traction
Use Caution with Dangerous Equipment
- Chainsaws: Review videos on safe use. Check out the U.S. Agricultural Safety and Health Centers YouTube Channel:
- Back-up generators: Use outside only as exhaust fumes can kill.
- Lamps and heaters: Be sure to use the correct wiring and to keep them free of dust and feed to prevent fires. Use our Farm Safety Check Preventing Building Fires for more tips.
Prepare for Flooding
- Move your livestock to areas you can access if the flooding risk is high.
- Carefully assess the depth of floods before driving through them. A good rule of thumb is to never drive through flood water deeper than the center of your vehicle’s wheels.
- Secure valuable equipment and fuel supplies.
For additional information on preparing and staying safe for the upcoming winter months, check out these resources from UMASH: