Be Ready for Harvest with an EAP

Sep 27, 2023

An emergency action plan is an important first step in harvest preparedness
As harvest time ramps up, it’s important to think about the unexpected. An Emergency Action Plan (EAP) ensures that everyone on the farm knows how to respond when something goes seriously wrong.
As Tom Rausch, Federated’s director of safety, said, “Have a plan just in case the unthinkable would happen.” 
OSHA, the safety branch of the U.S. Dept. of Labor, outlined this list of potential natural or man-made agricultural emergencies.
Natural: tornadoes, wildfires, floods severe storms, lightning strikes, etc.
Man-made: wildfires, explosions or fires, animal handling incidents, grain entrapments, power failures, rotating and moving equipment incidents (augers, PTOs), chemical releases or spills, vehicle incidents (turnovers, rollovers), accidental poisoning, etc.

While the list includes items that the majority won’t experience, every year hundreds of farm accidents send ag workers to the hospital (or worse, to the morgue). The Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture reported in early 2023 that a farmer is 800% more likely to die while working on the farm than people who work elsewhere. And, unfortunately, children on farms experience a high rate of accidental injury and death.
Preparedness is critical. Cell phones are a vital link in any emergency (keep them charged and in your pocket!). Farm workers should all know who to contact first in case an emergency (after calling 911). Knowing the lay of the land – buildings, bins, and field locations – is also vital knowledge.
Chemicals and equipment are also important to consider in the event of emergency.  Hazardous chemicals can ignite; grain augers and PTOs need to be shut down; utilities may need to be controlled – and much more.
Every farm’s EAP should include evacuation plans, alarm system training, reporting processes, shutdown procedures, and a discussion of the “what ifs” on the farm overall. See this OSHA article for a thorough outline of how to make an EAP).
Take time now – before the rush of harvest – to consider how to address “the unthinkable,” Rausch recommends. Knowing what to do in emergency situations can save lives – and limbs – and keep your loved ones safe. Contact Rausch with any safety concerns on your farm.

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