Beat the heat: How to prepare for the summer season
To many, summer is an idyllic time defined by sunshine, vacations and fun outdoor activities. For the agriculture industry, however, the season can pose a set of unique threats to the well-being of your livestock, workers and even your family. June 20 marks the first day of summer, but you still have time to reduce the amount of risk to your operations and prepare for the coming months.
Protecting your livestock from the heat
Livestock are at increased risk during the summer season due to increased exposure to intense sunlight and high temperatures. According to Nelson Manufacturing, a leading manufacturer of animal waterers, you should consistently check your animals for symptoms of dehydration or heat stress, such as sunken eyes, a “skin tent” after pinching their skin, dark yellow urine or fever. Provide your livestock with plenty of water and electrolytes and place water tanks in multiple locations.
Protecting your employees self from the sun
Like your livestock, your workers are subject to several risks brought on by sunlight and heat. Make sure to protect employees from heat illnesses, even mild cases, which can impair judgment and lead to deadly accidents when operating large machinery. Staying hydrated is just one solution. Be sure to also take breaks and never push yourself if feeling ill. Share the same instructions with your employees and encourage them to keep an eye out for coworkers who seem weak or confused.
Protecting yourself and others from sun damage should be a priority, as tempting as it may be to work on your farmer’s tan. Have all employees wear light-colored clothing and sunscreen rated at least 15 SPF to reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Protecting your family this summer
A final, often overlooked risk during the summer is the presence of children on the farm. With school out, it can be tempting for kids who live on a ranch to play with machinery or explore places they shouldn’t. According to the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, 33 children are injured each day in agriculture-related accidents, and every three days one of those accidents will be fatal. Working youths are especially at risk, being 7.8 times more likely to be fatally injured on the job compared to young workers in all other industries combined.
Protect your children by setting boundaries and putting up fencing or signage to discourage the exploration of dangerous areas. Make sure keys are never left in vehicles or machinery, and store dangerous chemicals in safe areas.
There are many ways to prepare for this summer season, but accidents can still happen to even the most prepared. Take a look at our many Farm and Ranch policies to learn how James Allen Insurance can provide you with peace of mind this summer.