Vol 8., No. 1/2, January/February 2007
THOUGHTS & QUOTES
"Agritourism: Health and Safety Guidelines for Children" is a new, user-friendly resource written for agritourism operators large and small, and for long-term operations as well as farmers who might host a one-time event.
The full-color, 37-page guidelines booklet was published by the National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, a program of the National Farm Medicine Center at Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation. The project was funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
The booklet includes tips on identifying and reducing hazards found on farms, such as those involving animals, water, machinery and hygiene. Convenient checklists help owners implement recommendations before visits by agritourists.
The guidelines are available at www.marshfieldclinic.org/agritourism. If you would like a printed booklet, please contact the National Children's Center at 1-800-662-6900, or if you have any specific questions contact Tammy Ellis.
** Reminder of two videos that can be viewed in their entirety on NASD that discuss the topic of children visiting farms:
Injuries to the head, feet and hands make up a significant number of workplace injuries. From a worker's comp point of view, injuries to the head are more costly than any other non-fatal injury. According to the National Safety Council in 2000, the typical cost of a head injury was over $25,000.
A training unit on this important subject is available from Penn State University. "Head, Eye and Foot Protection Demonstation Manual" reviews the basics of protection, standards and first aid. It includes suggestions for conducting educational programs. The demonstration "can be used as a stand-alone, 3-5 minute demonstration or it can be part of a longer, more extensive educational program on personal protective gear."
A complete guide to personal protective equipment (PPE) is avaiable on the OSHA Web site. Personal Protective Equipment covers PPE requirements, hazard assessment, selecting PPE, training employees, and describes requirements for protecting eyes and face, head, foot and leg, hand and arm, overall body, and hearing. Information is given about assistance available from OSHA.
In the October 2006 issue of the Journal of Extension, Glen Arnold, Dee Jepsen, and Jason Hedrick report on "Perceptions of Youth Risk and Safety Education: A Survey of Farm Safety Day Camp Participants and Their Parents."
The authors surveyed over 500 third-graders who had just attended a farm safety day camp. Most of these students also returned surveys from their parents. The children's survey addressed issues in the areas of how much they were exposed to certain hazards, if they had ever experienced an injury, and if they were capable of following safety rules. The parents' survey examined the importance of the safety day camps and preferred topics. Questions on the parent survey provided a check on children's responses.
The study showed that students were capable of self-reporting their exposure rate and that they are capable of following safety rules over 90% of the time. A large majority of parents decribed the program as beneficial and reported that they preferred general safety topics over farm-specific topics.
Farm safety day camps are a widely used tool for safety education. This report reinforces the value of these camps for both children and parents and should be of interest to anyone involved with these camps.
The video "A Tractor Accident Can Happen to Anyone" is available free of charge from the Great Lakes Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (GLCASH). The Center has already distributed 1000, and 1500 remain from their production run. This 20-minute video stresses the importance of installing ROPS (Rollover Protective Structure), as well as wearing seatbelts and exhibiting caution when operating a tractor. Any agricultural professional or organization would find this video an important addition to their tractor safety education programs.
To receive a copy of this video please contact the Great Lakes Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (GLCASH) at 614-292-0622 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with the number of videos you would like and what format (DVD/VHS). Multiple copies per individual or organization are available.
A preview of this video is available on the Center for Disease Control's National Agriculture Safety Database (NASD) Web site.
If you think it will never happen to you, ask Johnson and Johnson, or Peter Pan Peanut Butter, or any one of the many businesses -- large and small -- that are suddenly hit with a situation where consumers or employees are injured or sickened. We hear people on television news being interviewed about these kinds of incidents and think to ourselves, "I would never say that." But when the call comes in the middle of the night, and the fire department is already on the scene, and the microphone suddenly appears, who knows what they would say.
Managing a business crisis involves more than your immediate problem, it includes public relations, media communications, government agencies, and so on. You can prepare your operation for these events in advance with a crisis communication plan.
What is a crisis communication plan? "It's the process of putting into writing exactly what you will do if a crisis situation arises and how you will deal with the news media and the public. It involves designating a spokesperson, developing key messages, preparing for tough questions and keeping track of media contacts. Once you have a plan in writing, you make sure that all your employees are familiar with it and review it regularly."
This quote is taken from a recent article in Growing magazine which discusses in greater depth the value of a crisis management plan and how to get started developing one.
Many people are familiar with the 85-decibel rule: You should employ hearing protection or other engineering controls to reduce exposure to sound of 85 decibels or more. But knowing the rule and adopting the proper safety practice are two different things. Many workers are exposed to excessive sound levels in industries that involve powered machinery, and agriculture is no exception.
In fact, the most commonly used agricultural machine -- the tractor -- consistently produces more than 90 decibels. In the article "Noise and Hearing Loss in Agriculture," Eldon Fisher, 4-H Extension agent in Colorado, discusses agricultural work and hearing loss. According to the article, a recent Iowa study found that 70% of farmers had below normal hearing for their age. Consistent exposure to excessive sound levels means permanent hearing loss, a decreased quality of life, and possibly lower productivity.
What workers need to understand is that although driving 5 miles an hour faster doesn't usually seem like much difference, a 5 decibel difference is a substantial difference in sound level because decibels are measured on a logarithmic scale, which means that the amount of energy delivered to the ear increases significantly with every decibel point. It may help to realize that the range of everything you normally hear is 40 decibel points -- from a whisper at about 50 decibels to a shout at about 90. Not many people want to listen to shouting all day -- so why is the sound of a tractor "music" to a farmer's ears?
Some other sound benchmarks:
Upon its completion in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was the largest suspension bridge in the world, a record it held until the completion of another New York bridge, the Williamsburg bridge, in 1924. The Brooklyn bridge was also the greatest accomplishment of its designer, John A. Roebling. Unfortunately, Roebling never saw the complete work. During the initial phase of construction, Roebling was standing on a piling when it was rammed by a ferry. His right foot was crushed in the incident. His injured toes were amputated, but Roebling refused to allow his foot to be removed and insisted on "water therapy," a treatment in which water is continuously poured over a wound. He continued to work on the project and solve its problems from his hospital bed. After 16 days, on July 22, 1869, he died of tetanus.
Roebling's son and daughter-in-law, Washington and Emily Roebling, completed the Brooklyn Bridge. Roebling's grandson and great-grandson became engineers and inventors.