For many ag operations, winter is the “off-season,” making it an excellent time to ensure your employees have completed their annual safety training. It’s also a good time to conduct a hazard assessment of your operation. Here are four things you can do now to help ensure that your next year is as safe as possible.
Inspect Your Equipment and Procedures to Identify Hazards
Your hazard assessment checklist is your best tool. Make sure that it is complete and up-to-date. Then refer to it throughout your assessment to make sure no hazard in your operation gets overlooked. It may even help to enlist the help of someone from outside your operation or another family member to help you identify potential hazards.
Classify Hazards to Assess Risk
Once you’ve identified the hazards in your operation, rate the risk of those hazards on the likelihood of incidence. This will help you determine which hazards need to be addressed immediately and which can be dealt with later. This will also help you reduce your costs by prioritizing which hazards are the most important so that the money you spend on safety has the greatest impact on creating a safe work environment for your employees.
Take Corrective Action
Use the priorities you established above to help you determine what corrective actions to take in reducing or eliminating potential hazards. You should have a clear idea of what hazards need to be addressed now and which will require additional planning or funds. Establish a target completion date. You may even need to consider discontinuing activities with a high risk assessment until a solution can be provided.
Monitor Conditions Regularly
Conduct hazard assessments on a regular schedule to ensure that old hazards don’t recur or that new hazards find their way into your operation. During each assessment, evaluate actions you have taken with previous hazards to determine their ongoing effectiveness.