Agricultural farming dominates in Kenya accounting for 70% of the workforce and 25 % of annual GDP as of 2017. Standing as the best prospect industry in Kenya, there’s a need for supporting programs that teach farmers on appropriate field measures, equipment use and farm safety measures. In addition, farmers need awareness of safer farming methods to avoid injuries and fatal accidents while working with their children in the fields. This list highlights practices and tips that farmers could implement for safer farming and farmers’ wellbeing.
- On personal safety
Practising personal safety measures could reduce the risk of farmers getting chemical-related cancers. These measures also help farmers cut down income spent on accidents as well as avoid fatal accidents altogether. Personal safety measures include;
- Not wearing loose clothes around equipment or liquid chemicals. Long sleeves attire and baggy clothes prompt accidents from blunt objects or falls. They can also catch chemicals, which both children and adults might ingest unknowingly.
- Following instructions especially when handling chemicals. This involves wearing gloves, protective gear, safety eyewear and respirators when working in dusty conditions.
- Emphasize the do’s and don’t’s when working with children. practice what you preach and with time the safety rules and regulations will stick.
- Inspect for manholes, pits, and other holes which might cause accidents.
- Have a first aid kit to address minor injuries.
- Look into emergency training to learn how to administer first aid measures.
- On chemicals
- Store chemicals securely and far away from children’s reach.
- Do not leave chemical bottles and containers lying around. Especially liquid chemicals which could be mistaken for water or a soft drink.
- Establish safety boundaries around flammable substances.
- Check for hazardous materials on working grounds to avoid accidents
- On tools
- Be alert at all times.
- Practice proper equipment use and maintenance
- Always follow instructions
- Conduct regular inspection to ensure safety before use.
- Attend workshops and other support programs to refine your knowledge and skills on farm equipment use.
- On livestock
- Be mindful of aggressive animals. Learn animal behaviour. This will help you notice when they’re in pain or discomfort which could lead to aggressiveness.
- Walk at a safe distance from animals to avoid being kicked. Do not approach the animal from behind as this will startle it.
- Avoid being in the animal’s blind spot. Rather approach it from an angle near its shoulder. As you do so speak softly to announce your presence.
- On tractors
- Install Rollover Protection Structures (ROPS) on tractors.
- Be cautious while operating tractors on rural roads. Be mindful of blind spots and ensure there are no oncoming vehicles while making wide turns.
- Watch for potholes, ditches and steep hills. Be sure to keep equipment at least 20 feet from any overhead power lines or wires that support poles.
- Keep weeds and grasses trimmed. This will prevent tractor and ATV drivers from running into hidden obstacles and holes that can cause the vehicles to overturn.
Speaking of healthy agricultural practices, keep reading to find out how improving storage practices promotes food security.
Adapted from the American Society of Safety Engineers
Featured Image from NobisAgri