New Year: New safety resolution
There’s no time like the present to make or renew your farm’s commitment to safety.
When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, millions of people across the world share in a common celebration. We celebrate the end of 2022 and raise a toast to 2023 with all that it brings for fresh ideas, renewed positivity and new resolutions.
However, we often forget to add farm safety to our resolutions. It’s that one area where I often hear producers say, “We don’t need that … it’s just a few employees,” or “that will never happen to us,” or “my spouse takes care of that.”
Having a well-thought-out dairy farm safety program is an undervalued asset to any operation. Not having one in place can result in injuries or illness. It can also have a negative impact on mental wellness and the financial bottom line when something goes terribly wrong on the dairy.
I would like to challenge you to shift your mindset. What can you do to raise the bar for safety on your dairy in 2023? Do you have a dairy farm safety program? Is it documented? Do you talk about farm safety on a regular basis? Are employees formally trained? Do you put your employees’ safety at the top of mind at all times?
If you take small steps and work on shifting your mindset toward dairy farm safety, that may be just the momentum you need to put the right safety program in place. Yes, there is a lot of legislation surrounding farm safety regardless of where you are located, but I find when we talk about legislation, most people shut down. It turns a common-sense need into a grudge task. That is never the right outcome. So, let’s just shift our mind to the human compassion side. No one wants to see someone else get hurt, let alone killed. No one wants to call an employee’s spouse or parent to say their loved one was found in the manure pit or was just air lifted to the hospital due to being pinned or kicked.
The first mind shift is simple. It involves putting in writing your commitment to safety as an employer. Then talk to your team to clearly explain what that means. Use this opportunity as a monthly safety talk. It is a great way to answer their questions, discuss some real-life examples on your operation and perhaps talk through some shortcuts that should be avoided.
This commitment statement must be signed and dated by the person with the highest level of authority on the operation and then posted on your safety communication board for everyone to see. It requires an annual renewal, with a newly signed and dated commitment statement. Doing this every January is a great way to set new resolutions and commitments toward safety.
This mind shift is not only for you as the employer, but it is equally important for your team. Everyone needs to uphold the same attitude and take responsibility for safety on the dairy.
Figure 1 is an example of a dairy farm safety commitment statement. Feel free to use this example and make it your own. I challenge you to shift your mindset and take this first step.