Running and operating a farm can present several risks and challenges.
Whether you are a new or experienced farm owner, you should know how to minimize risks to your farm, employees, and your animals and be prepared to take action. After all, your farm is a source of your livelihood as well as joy and sustenance for many.
Common threats to your farm include fire, flooding and natural disasters. It’s important to have safety protocols in place and to be well aware of any potential hazards before you can prevent and tackle them.
In this article, we will discuss some helpful reminders that will reduce risks to your farm and give you peace of mind.
1. Know the hazards
In order to reduce potential threats on your farm, it’s imperative that you remain cautious of any potential hazards. Some hazards you should be mindful of include fire, flood, storms, disease and occupational injuries.
Hazards can present themselves in many different ways so you want to make sure that all equipment is being handled properly and according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Ensure that all equipment is in good working condition and replace all broken, old and damaged items promptly.
It’s also important to ensure the property is free from potential risks by keeping walkways clear and maintaining order and cleanliness throughout the premises.
2. Beware of fire
Outbuildings, barns, and equipment fires can quickly wreak havoc on your farm, especially if they become out of control. Some safety measures to prevent fires include keeping fire extinguishers maintained and handy both on your equipment and in your buildings, maintaining electrical systems and getting professionals to inspect new and existing systems. As you well know, machinery can create possible fires from failing parts, to belts and metals heating up. To help minimize this risk, we suggest that you try and clean your machinery off after a long day in the fields to help prevent a fire from starting.
Having your property outfitted with fire alarms can go a long way to preventing a loss. Containing any and all sources of combustible or flammable substances away from anything that may create a possible ignition. It is always best practise to have an emergency fire strategy posted where all can see.
Barn, forest and equipment fires can quickly wreak havoc on your farm, especially when they become out of control. Some safety measures to prevent fires include keeping fire extinguishers handy, maintaining electrical systems and letting professionals inspect systems and machinery regularly. Don’t forget to clean your hot machinery off after a long day in the fields to prevent a fire from starting.
Your property needs to be outfitted with fire alarms. Furthermore, any and all sources of ignition have to be noted and contained. An emergency fire strategy should be developed and posted where all can see.
3. Minimize physical work risks
While working on your farm, you and your employees may be subject to potential physical hazards and risks. For example, improperly lifting heavy loads can lead to injuries, pain and other physical ailments.
Working alone can be another potential danger, as there may be no one else around to help if something goes wrong or an accident occurs. All workers on your farm should be well-trained in safety practices and procedures.
They should use proper methods to operate machinery and lift items. It is also your duty and responsibility to put up caution signs in high-risk areas or to ban access to areas where workers may be hurt or injured easily.
4. Handle transport safely
When transporting supplies and equipment from one location to another, you should be sure to proceed with caution and care.
Ultimately, there should be safe and effective transportation practices in place that make work easier and safer for everyone.
5. Keep the weather in mind
Staying informed about the weather is a lifeline for farmers. After all, adverse weather conditions can do a number on your property. That’s why it is so important to frequently check the weather forecast and plan ahead for snowy days, rain, hail and potential natural disasters.
Additionally, we would like to remind you to keep your equipment covered and make sure your bin lids are closed before heavy rainfall.
6. Practice safety protocols
One way to increase your preparedness for an emergency is to practise all safety protocols, such as evacuation, fire, and flood protocols. Make sure you map out a convenient meeting location and keep a map of the farm and premises displayed on the property.
Practising these protocols with all of your seasonal employees and workers ensures that everyone will know what to do and where to go in an emergency.
It can help things run smoothly and give you confidence, knowing you have a viable plan in place if danger occurs.
7. Have emergency contacts
Creating an emergency contact list is an important step in your safety planning because it designates and specifies certain individuals that could help in dire situations. Your emergency contacts can include veterinarians, neighbours, suppliers and local authorities.
Once you’ve made a list of all emergency contacts, you should make sure this list is easily accessible to you, your employees and anyone else on your farm. This ensures that if an emergency arises, you will know exactly who to call and their contact information.
8. Choose the right farm insurance
When considering farm insurance, all farmers should know the different types of insurance and what is being protected. Some of the different types of insurance include coverage for your operations, buildings, equipment, pollution, produce and livestock.
In addition to those policies, you can also add supplemental coverage. Some optional coverage includes coverage for equipment breakdown, rock and root ingestion, leased equipment, loss of use and seed growers mixing.
With farm insurance, you can be rest assured that your business and livelihood are protected by an insurance company that understands your needs.
At MMI Insurance, we understand how important your farm is to you, and we offer convenient services and insurance solutions for your peace of mind.
All in all, taking care of your farm and reducing potential risks requires regular maintenance and advanced planning. You will not only benefit from a safer environment but your employees (and your livestock) will thrive as well.
For more information on farm insurance in Alberta, please call MMI Insurance at 1-866-222-6996 or contact us here. Our five Alberta insurance offices are in Calgary, La Crete, Edmonton, Grand Prairie and Lethbridge. We are more than happy to provide a free, no-obligation quote.