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Developing a Safety and Health Program to Reduce Injuries and Accident Losses A sound safety and health program is an effective ã Safety and health policy statement. way to manage risks, much like an irrigation program ã Workplace safety rules. or weed control program is to crop production. Acci- dents are costly. Estimated costs for agriculture-related ã
   A Pacific Northwest Extension PublicationIdaho ã Oregon ã Washington  A sound safety and health program is an effective way to manage risks, much like an irrigation programor weed control program is to crop production. Acci-dents are costly. Estimated costs for agriculture-relatedaccidents can range from $58,000 to $87,000 per disabling injury. A safety and health program can besimple and should be tailored to your specific operation. Whether you have five, 10, or 100 employees, theinformation that follows will help you to develop aneffective farm or ranch safety and health program. A safety and health plan needs to include at least these items as part of an accident prevention program.Make these items available to your workers in a locationsuch as the farm shop or display on a bulletin board: ã Safety and health policy statement. ã  Workplace safety rules. ã Safety director’s name and phone number. ã Record keeping system to report safety andhealth issues. ã Formal training on safety and health awarenessfor employees. ã Periodic inspection of work areas. ã Recognition of hazards. ã Inform workers of safety items required by law. ã Plan for emergency preparedness. ã Maps locating emergency equipment and supplies. ã Request that employees immediately bring allunsafe working conditions or equipment to theattention of the supervisor. ã Inform employees that safety will be reviewedperiodically. ã Encourage employees to offer solutions for safety problems or concerns. The safety and health policy should be posted whereemployees will see it. Individual policies should besigned by the employee. See the sample Safety HealthPolicy on the next page. Developing a Safety and Health Programto Reduce Injuries and Accident Losses  Written Safety and Health Policy   A written policy statement is an effective way tocommunicate a commitment to farm or ranch worker safety and health. The policy statement need not beelaborate; a paragraph or two should be sufficient. Thisdocument is also looked upon favorably by insurancecompanies, regulators, and others should an accident occur. Your safety and health policy should include someof the elements listed below. ã The overall goal of your policy. ã  A statement indicating your commitment to makingemployee safety and health your highest priority. ã Inform employees to follow all safety rules and toreport all injuries to their supervisor.   A Pacific Northwest Extension PublicationIdaho ã Oregon ã Washington  Workplace Safety Rules Basic and specialized safety rules need to be devel-oped for all employees. Here are sample rules for afarm or ranch workplace. You may wish to change rulesto suit the nature of your operation. Just remember that rules are less likely to be effective if the list is long. They must be simple, easy to understand, and be in alanguage known to the worker (e.g., Spanish, English,Thai, etc.).Post your safety rules in highly visible locations toserve as a continuing reminder to employees. Safety Director Someone must be responsible for the safety program.It can be the owner, manager, or a reliable supervisor or worker. This person should help establish a budget toensure that the program not only meets regulatory requirements, but also effectively addresses all thehazards of an operation. Employee responsibilities for safety and health should be reviewed periodically. It is agood idea to post the “responsibilities list” in an area where it can serve as a regular reminder to all workers.7.Wear all appropriate personal protective equipment (e.g., respirator, gloves, goggles), as instructed by the supervisor.8.All injuries and property damage accidents must bepromptly reported to your supervisor.9.Ask questions if you do not understand the task youare responsible to perform.10.Consequences for not following safety rules must bestated. These can range from verbal warnings tosuspension to work termination. Sample Safety Rules 1.Employees will follow company rules.2.Only qualified personnel are allowed to operatemachinery or equipment.3.Handle chemicals only if properly instructed, andunder the direction of a supervisor.4.No extra riders are permitted on any motorizedequipment.5.Absolutely no “horseplay” in work areas.6.Absolutely no use of alcohol or drugs in the work area. Sample Safety and Health Policy  __________________ (name of farm, ranch, or company) recognizes the value of the individual employee. The safety and health of our employees is our highest priority. We will make every effort to provide safe and healthful workingconditions at all times. Employees are required to follow all company safety rules. Unsafe working conditions, unsafepractices, or machines that are unsafe to operate must be reported to supervisors immediately. Employees also must report to their supervisors any injuries that occur at the workplace.__________________ (name of farm, ranch, or company) intends to comply with all safety laws and regulations.Safety issues will be reviewed regularly with our employees._________________ (name, title) is responsible for having periodic safety meetings, providing safety and healthinspections, and making sure that ______________ (employee’s name) has a healthful and safe working environment.I have read and understand the safety policy.Employee___________________Date_________Safety Director/Supervisor_________________ Date___________ Safety and Health Program2 of 5 pages   A Pacific Northwest Extension PublicationIdaho ã Oregon ã Washington Record Keeping System Records must be kept of all training programs and accidents that have occurred. Have employees sign log sheetsindicating the training received and date it. Accidents should be investigated and causes of the accident recorded as well as all circumstances surrounding it. Keep records of hazards identified and if and when they were corrected.Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for all materials need to be kept in a central location and available to allemployees. Also, make sure you have an adequate number of first aid kits and that workers know where to find them. Training for Employees Conduct periodic training. Even short programs areeffective. Employees should be trained at least quarterly or by season. Maintain records of all training activity.Training should begin with new hires or when responsi-bilities change. Training may also be required wheninjuries or “close calls” warrant additional training for employees. It must be timely and thorough.Use the following guidelines for designing andconducting employee training programs. These shouldbe modified for your particular operation. Remember totell employees what they are doing right during thetraining. General Training Guidelines 1.Verify employee qualifications and experience,particularly in machinery operation. Do not just take their word for it.2.All new employees should receive proper jobinstruction and safety training for their particular job responsibilities. List minimum competencies andhave employees demonstrate if necessary.3.All employees should attend a safety trainingsession at least once a year.4.Short (15 to 30 minutes) weekly training sessions,called “tailgate” meetings, have proven to beeffective and can be used to discuss new topics andreview safety concerns of the past week.5.A safety committee can be effective when there is alarge number of employees. This committee shouldinclude representatives of workers, supervisors, andmanagement. Training Tips ã Explain how and why you want a job done aparticular way. ã Personally demonstrate how to do the job properly and safely. ã Make certain that the employee understands theimportance of their job as well as all hazardsassociated with it. ã Before leaving new workers on their own, makesure that they can perform their job properly andsafely. Stay until you are certain they are doing thejob correctly. ã Make frequent checks on new workers. Don’t “hover” over them. If there are problems withemployee performance, repeat the demonstrationof correct work procedure. Positive reinforcement ismore effective than negative criticism. REMEMBER... GOOD SUPERVISIONIS THE KEY TO SAFETY.NEVER LEAVE TRAININGTO CHANCE! Safety and Health Program3 of 5 pages   A Pacific Northwest Extension PublicationIdaho ã Oregon ã Washington Inspection of Work Areas Regular inspection of work areas reduces and often eliminates potential hazards. Assign individuals—safety director or a member of a safety committee—to inspect work areas on a regular basis. The following items need to beinspected on a daily basis: Equipment guards and shieldsPersonal protective equipment HousekeepingPower tools, cords, and extension cordsLaddersHand toolsMaterials handling equipment  Periodic inspections need to becarried out on the following: Fire extinguishersFirst aid and emergency equipment  Wiring, lighting, and electrical boxesEquipment storage and shop arrangement Pesticide storage and disposalFuel storage VentilationEmergency water supplies Recognition of Hazards In addition to regular inspections, employees need to be responsible for maintaining a safe, tidy workplace.Employees should be encouraged to let management know of unsafe or hazardous situations. Safety Items Required by Law  Safety items should be posted as required by law. Posters are available on Worker Protection Standards and other laws that can be placed in a common area. Also, items such as MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) and records of sprayed fields need to be readily available to employees. Emergency Preparedness and Procedures Establish emergency procedures for use in case of injury, accident, or other emergency such as fire or severe weather. Post written directions near the phone for getting to the farm or ranch for individuals to give to emergency personnel in the event of an emergency. Safety and Health Program4 of 5 pages
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