Five Acts of Farm Safety

Act I Excluding safety

Farm life has always involved lots of hard work. Although most have traded hand tools for massive equipment, long hours still wear
farmers down. Wet weather has increased the stress of farming as it
has compacted the different stages of raising a crop into a complicated ball of activities that must be pulled apart like a tangled electric cord. It seems like most people involved with agriculture are tired, stressed and in a hurry. When these three elements join hands they exclude the most important partner in farming-safety.

Act II Safety Sensei

Barb Schmitz from Plummer owns Safety Compliance Services. Barb farms with her husband, Arnold, and teaches people how to stay safe at work. Barb started as a Safety officer in Red Lake County in 1991 and a few years later began a private practice teaching people how to come home from work with as many fingers as when they awoke that morning. The subject of safety is about as interesting as listening to play by play of gray paint drying on a wall, however Barb makes it work with personal stories and fairly
accurate emotional appeal. She inspires as she teaches and brings it
all home when she makes her pupils realize that being safe make it
possible to come home to the families we all cherish. She implores
her fellow man to be safe with a delivery that is equal parts motherly caring and sweetly hectoring nag.

Act III My own personal un-safety

The night before our safety class, I moved the cattle to a different
paddock. It was late so I was tired, I wanted to get back inside the
house so I was rushed-add both of these together and I was stressed. While moving the fence posts, I walked right into a small post which lodged its narrow end into the area where my belt would have been had I been wearing something more than boxer shorts and a t-shirt. At some point, a fair percentage of my weight was balanced somewhere near my center of gravity on top of that little post. After a suitable amount of time, I fell from the post and reacted with anger towards the post. I was unhurt but I was also unsafe.

Act IV Including safety

Barb told me that staying safe on the farm means trading time for
safety. You need to use this time to observe you environment for
hazards like low electric wires when moving an auger or an angry bull standing in a blind spot when moving cattle. You also need to take the time to get some sleep as a sleepy operator possesses an equal reaction time to a drunken operator. Also, keep the kids off the tractor even when they beg; bad habits are learned by example. Stress can make you blind to impending problems so remove the safety blinders as you remove stress. Get some sleep, accept change when it happens plus find the humor in your situation; all acts that will make your life very infertile ground for stress. The biggest guard against stress is belief in a higher power, yes God believes in safety too.

Act V The safest person you know

Barb asked us to write down who was the safest person we know. Those of you who watch the television series “the Office,” will find my answer a little ironic as I wrote down Dwight Schrute. Anyway, take care on the farm this summer; slow down, relax and be the safest person you know.

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