Emergency Prep

Are you prepared for an emergency or accident on your farm?

It's been a bad day. You are busy in the middle of harvest and you just get a call to learn one of your drivers is in an accident.  What next? Have you prepared in advance to handle this type of situation?

I don't think you can ever fully prepare for all emergencies, but advance planning can significantly help.

I recommend holding a meeting with employees at least once a year to talk about how accidents and injuries should be handled on your farm. Specifically, talk about how to handle minor injuries, major injuries, auto accidents and weather emergencies.

Each of those has different action plans associated with them. Managers and employees should know who they need to contact first and what they should do if one of their co-workers gets injured. As many farms have multiple entities, employees need to know which company holds their worker's compensation insurance so they can provide the doctor or hospital with the right information.

For injuries, the manager should notify the family members of the employee. Have all new hires and current employees complete an emergency contact form so you know who to contact in the event of an injury. Given most of us are farmers, having the emergency contact easily accessible is sometimes a challenge as injuries can happen in the field or on the road. Some payroll systems have the capability to track that information on the web which is extremely helpful. If you have a smartphone, you could add a field to the employee's contact information and add the emergency contact information there. Simply share that contact with all of your managers.

For companies with more than 10 employees, they are required to complete OSHA forms. For work related injuries that require attention beyond first aid, you need to complete the OSHA 301 Injury and Illness Incident Report. You must also complete the OSHA 300, Log of Work Related Injuries and Illnesses. You are only required to complete these forms and keep them on file at your location, they do not need to be mailed or turned in anywhere. For samples and more details on the OSHA requirements click here.

Finally, have someone check to ensure your first aid kits are filled, ensure you have eye wash kits, and post directions to local hospital/urgent care. If you have several employees who work for you, it might be a good idea to have at least one or two of you get CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) certified.

When owners and managers follow good safety practices, employees will too.

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