July 3, 2019

Is Your Farm Safe For Visitors?

Summer is officially here! The warmer weather means longer days and a return of some of our favourite outdoor activities. It may also include more visitors on your farm: family, friends, children, community members, and even the public — think Open Farm Days. The hazards on your farm don’t just disappear when a visitor arrives. They may be even more dangerous to a visitor, who is not fully aware of the potential hazards.

The good news is that a little planning can go a long way. Read through the list below for suggestions on how to manage visitor safety on your farm. Every operation is unique so modify these examples accordingly to effectively manage potential risks:

  • Establish a sign-in protocol

  • Identify designated parking areas with signage (allowing you to easily track current visitors)

  • Designate a specific area (muster point) to meet in case of an emergency, make sure this area is easy to get to, and clearly identify where it is

  • Inform visitors of the specific hazards on your farm when they first arrive — this might include livestock, equipment traffic, confined spaces, etc.

  • Include any ‘off-limits’ areas on your operation — do this verbally and/or by providing a safety orientation

  • Have someone from the farm accompany visitors where practical

  • Provide high-visibility clothing, or ask visitors to bring it with them

  • Use signage where possible to identify hazards. Examples might include chemical storage areas, flammability hazards, falling ice, slippery surfaces, Do Not Enter cautionary warnings, confined spaces, etc

  • Ensure access to hazardous environments or areas is prevented. Examples include locking a door or cabinet, removing a ladder from a bin, or removing the keys from equipment

Don’t forget that children have a unique perspective. A child might not obey signage or use ‘common sense’. Eliminate hazards by seeing potential dangers through their eyes and from their level. To a child, chemicals look like other things and are tempting to touch or eat, as a result.

chemical look alike kits
Chemical Look-A-Like kit showcases the uncanny resemblance between common safe and unsafe substances.
Dangerous materials stored in food containers look the same as safe ones, posing unnecessary threats to people's
health — particularly children's.

Lastly, remember to consider your safety protocols for contractors. While some of the same protocols you implement for visitors will help you manage contractors, you may need to do some extra work on hazard identification and monitoring. Read our QuickStart guide to find out more.