Safety on the farm

Safety on the farm

The 2019 data for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that agricultural work is still the most dangerous in America. There were 573 fatalities — 23.1 deaths per 100,000 workers. Fall harvest is one of the busiest and most dangerous seasons of the year for the agriculture industry.

child watches farmer unload grain

Tarin Tiefenthaler has farmed with her husband Ryan for over 10 years in Carroll, Iowa. Together they grow soybeans, rye, and corn, and raise hogs. The couple also owns their own soybean processing facility, which is on-site, and Tarin Tiefenthaler is an active member of the Iowa Soybean Association as part of their Communications Squad and District Advisory Council.

Tiefenthaler said she would love to host safety classes at her farm one day to help educate children and parents about farm safety. “The stereotypical farm kid is a thing of the past,” Tiefenthaler said. “So even though kids may grow up on a farm, they may not know how to be safe on a farm.”

As the parents of three girls, Morgan, 19; Mylie, 14; and Sloan, 5, Tiefenthaler and her husband consider farm safety paramount. The rules they have at the farm reflect that.

A self-described “tough cookie,” Tiefenthaler is a strong enforcer of those rules. As drivers come to their farm, they’ll notice several safety signs such as “SLOW DOWN: KIDS PLAYING.” Since there is a lot of traffic to and from the soybean processing facility, getting drivers to slow down and pay attention is one of the most important safety rules that she enforces. And she hasn’t been shy about reminding drivers about it, as well as reminding her children to do their part by staying out of the way of trucks and machinery.

child carrying safety cone on farmHer daughters are required to wear neon while outside on the farm, and Sloan, the youngest, has an additional stipulation: She must hug a neon safety cone when near the unloading pit on the farm when work is being done, to help workers and drivers see her. “If you see that cone, you’ll see her, and you’ll slow down.” If any of the Tiefenthaler children (or their friends) break a rule, they stay in the house for the rest of the day.

Safety practices don’t end with the Tiefenthaler children. All farm employees are required to wear personal protection equipment (PPE) when dealing with chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers and follow all other rules.

Many of the farm’s safety rules resulted from real-life tragedies. A girl who was run over while playing in a snow pile. A boy who fell into a manure pit. A family friend who lost both legs. Tiefenthaler said hearing about these incidents rattled her to her core.

“So many accidents can be prevented so easily, if you put safety measures in place and use them,” she said.

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