Increasingly more employees are being hired on Wisconsin farms. It is important for employers to know labor regulations related to employee safety and health.
Developing a Safety Program – Where do I Start?
You’ve heard that OSHA plans to increase their inspection of dairy farms. Or you’re looking to reduce worker compensation or insurance costs. Whatever your reason for starting a safety program, you’re looking for resources to get you started.
Since Wisconsin has a variety of farm operations with different equipment, structures, and employment practices, you won’t find a one-size fits all, check the box plans. Safety programs need to fit into your overall management plans and be performance based for your operations. There are a number of resources to get you started.
Rural Mutual Insurance has developed this template for a Farm Safety Handbook .
An important first step is reviewing your operation for hazards. Your familiarity with the workplace may make it harder for you to see hazards. Using a checklist like the UWEX Farm Safety Checklist A3619 hazard checklist uwex is one means to assess hazards and create a record to review for your action plan.
Another good resource is to contact your worker’s compensation insurance company and ask if a loss control specialist could conduct an audit. There’s a mutual benefit for you and the insurance company. This action may also help save you from a significant loss such as a worker injury or a fire damage claim.
Safety Starts with Organization
Organizing an area will take some time. Housekeeping and putting things in order is a good way to reduce a few tripping hazards, get rid of some clutter, take inventory of safety supplies and equipment, and look for missing signs or labels. While the task may seem overwhelming, pick one area of the operation and focus on that area. Engage employees in the process and seek their input into safety concerns and needs.