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Safety on the farm

by Patricia Grotenhuis, lifelong farmer and agricultural advocate

Being on a farm is a great experience and has many benefits.  Anyone living on, working on, or visiting a farm though should remember the dangers that can exist.

Growing up on my family’s farm, it seemed the most common movies we watched were all about farm safety and how to avoid accidents.  Each year we went to a farm safety day camp, and, with parents who led the Farm Safety 4-H Club, we were often at those meetings as well.  Even with all of the awareness our parents gave us, there was still the potential to get hurt.

When we had friends over or were at events such as our fall fair, we were reminded how important farm safety was.  Things which looked fun to our friends looked dangerous to us, and at fairs we were always warning  visitors about being careful around the animals.

Sometimes it was simple: do not stick your fingers in the horse’s mouth, do not run up to an animal, watch out for those back legs and avoid sudden noises and movements.  Sometimes it was more complex: do not try and treat a barn like a playground, stay away from moving machinery and beware of animals who are acting strangely.

I am glad my parents gave us the farm safety education they did, and we will be teaching our children the same way.  The last thing a farmer wants to see is someone getting injured when it could have been prevented.  Animals and machinery can be dangerous but when you are properly trained in how to behave around them, the risk is limited.
Safety is everyone’s responsibility.  Farmers have to use farm safety resources to remind them about hidden dangers, and they have to be able to tell someone when what they are doing is not safe.  Agricultural events such as plowing matches and fairs have to take precautions to keep visitors safe, although it is impossible to eliminate risk of injury. 

People visiting farms or agricultural events have to use common sense: read and follow directions on signs, be careful around farm animals (especially the large animals) and think twice before doing something.  Jumping off of a beam into a pile of straw may seem fun, but the straw may be hiding something, such as a stack of old farm tools or a hole in the floor.

If everyone takes as many precautions as possible, it will be easier for everyone to have a good time and fewer injuries to happen.  Farms can be fun places; we just have to be mindful of what could happen if we are not careful.

For more information visit the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association at


Posted by OFAC on March 21st, 2011 :: Filed under Farm life,Farm Safety
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