Tip of the month: Worker's safety at the dairy. Lately on my travels, workers safety has been a topic of discussion with managers. This is why I'm writing this article where I will share some key guidelines and topics that must be evaluated at the dairy, and covered during any safety training program for employees at the dairy workplace. Read the article.
Los recursos humanos en la alimentación de vacas lecheras - Aquí está el enlace de la presentación que dí para CAENA en el congreso anual de nutrición animal que se hace en Argentina. Check out my talk at the CAENA annual nutrition conference in Argentina. Ver aquí / view here
Common mistakes affecting TMR mixing process - Check out the interview that Analia from Engormix did to me after my presentation in Argentina (English). Read here
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
- Thomas Edison
Dairy employees can be exposed to safety and health hazards while working at the dairy. Owners and managers are responsible for providing a safe workplace and proper training to reduce labor injuries at work. It is also critical for owners and managers to ensure that proper protocols are established and followed at all times to promote safety and reduce accidents.
Labor efficiency is an important parameter when it comes to evaluating dairy’s profitability. In fact, most dairy operations that strive to improve profitability tend to increase cow numbers at the dairy maintaining the same number of employees, thus diluting some of their fixed costs and improving net profits. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that a labor safety program is established so that worker’s risk of injuries or accidents is not increased.
Lately on my travels, workers safety has been a topic of discussion with managers. This is why I’m writing this article where I will share some key guidelines and topics that must be evaluated at the dairy, and covered during any safety training program for employees at the dairy workplace.
- Farm tractor and skid-steer – Farm statistics show that the main cause of worker’s injuries, fatal and non-fatal, are incidents with tractors and other farm equipment. According to the North Carolina department of labor, tractor overturns is the most common cause of deaths. This often occurs with tricycle-type tractors, so it may not be as common with more modern and bigger tractors.
Things to emphasize during training of inexperienced employees would be: understanding the center of gravity and how it changes, effects of tractor loading, hitching, and positioning of load in front-end loader. Being too close to ditches or sides of a silage bunker when packing must be discussed and proper maneuvering skills must be evaluated before an employee can help with this job.
Other risks when operating this type of equipment are:
- Falls from a moving tractor or skid-steer. To prevent this, do not mount or dismount from a moving tractor, do not permit riders, and do not stand or reach to extreme lengths.
- Run overs – This is most commonly due to failure of the operator to notice the presence of a person behind or on a side of the skid-steer or tractor. Understanding poor visibility of skid-steers is important as well as determining proper speed when operating this type of equipment. The use of cellular phones or headphones while operating skid-steers or tractors must be prohibited. Staying alert and focused while operating farm equipment is critical. I’ve seen and heard of accidents occur when employees are overconfident while operating a skid-steer or while operating the mixer feed wagon and tractor. It is important to refresh and retrain employees at least once or twice a year, discussing common accidents when employee is not paying attention. Also, new technologies like backing cameras and or buzzers installed in mixer wagons or tractors can be important safety features.
- Power takeoff hazards - Prevent these accidents by having employees wear comfortable, close fitting clothes when working around equipment. Also, use shields with good protection for the PTO drive system, and teach people to never step across a rotating power shaft.
- Other farm equipment - Read more
Felix Soriano, MS, PAS