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Three hidden dangers on the farm and how to make them safer

Christina Winch for Progressive Dairy Published on 31 March 2021
Feed and grain bins with ladders

When the time comes and I head to the calf barn in the morning dressed in pants, a sweatshirt and a stocking hat but my afternoon feeding attire includes a t-shirt and shorts, this can only mean one thing: Spring has arrived.

Along with spring on the dairy farm, field equipment is starting to move, the spring calving group of cows is giving birth, and the manure pit is being emptied. Other farmers are getting planters ready, doing some spring tillage, or tagging beef calves daily. As we enter this busy season on the farm, it is important to keep safety in mind.



(Editor’s note: The Canada Safety Council reminded farmers and educated the general public during National Farm Safety Week, March 14-20).

A handful of years ago, I applied for and received a grant from Successful Farming to make some safety improvements on our farm. One of the best ways to learn is from each other. I want to share with you some of the safety protocols we implemented back then.

As part of the safety grant, we had the opportunity to participate in a farm-safety inspection tour. Our sons were young then, but we made sure they participated in the tour so they could learn about some of the hidden dangers we had.

1. Feed and grain bins. These bins can be dangerous if you fall off the ladder. Kids like to climb. To prevent climbing, it was suggested to cover the ladder so they couldn’t. One simple suggestion was to take scrap wood and make something that would cover two to three rungs on the ladder. Then drill holes and use zip ties to secure it.

2. Equipment inspection. During the inspection tour, there was a checklist for every piece of equipment. If the equipment failed inspection, a red tag was placed on it. That means you are not supposed to use it until the safety issues are fixed. We had one piece get red tagged, our IH 706. It did not have a roll-over protection structure (ROPS). We found one at an antique tractor dealer in Kentucky that had a canopy. No more red tags on it.


3. Hydraulic hoses. When hooking up hydraulic hoses, it can be challenging to know which hose to plug in where. We colour-coded the tractor and equipment using electrical tape.

Colour-coded electrical tape on hydraulic hoses

Maybe one of the ideas can help you improve safety on your farm. I wish everyone a safe and healthy spring.  end mark

PHOTO 1: Feed and grain bins with ladders can be a hazard for kids on the farm.

PHOTO 2: Colour-coded electrical tape on hydraulic hoses can take the guesswork out of plugging them in. Photos by Christina Winch.

Christina Winch
  • Christina Winch

  • Dairy Producer
  • Fennimore, Wisconsin
  • Email Christina Winch