Health and safety considerations
Agriculture is a hazardous occupation, ranking in the top five most hazardous industries in California and the nation. Visual images, as well as the written or spoken word, can serve to condone or even encourage behaviors, practices and conditions that lead to injury and death. ANR educational materials can make a positive contribution to improve health and safety on California’s farms and ranches.
The American Society of Agricultural Engineers has developed standards for the safe design and operation of equipment such as loaders, augers, tractors, and clearances around power lines on the farm. The following principles are meant to be guidelines only and to encourage thoughtful consideration of the subtle messages included in ANR publications and videos.
Equipment, machinery, tools, and the work site
Tractors should always have a rollover protective structure (ROPS) or a cab. A seat belt should always be worn by the operator of tractors, other self-propelled agricultural equipment, and of course other vehicles. If the tractor or other farm equipment is shown on a public road, it should have a properly mounted slow-moving vehicle (SMV) emblem, the red and orange triangle shaped sign, visible from the rear.Only the operator should be shown on a tractor or other agricultural machinery. Extra riders should never be on a fender, drawbar, ladder, riding in the back of a truck unless seat belted into a fixed seat.
Work practices, procedures, and conditions
Backgrounds and areas ancillary to the subject of a scene can be used to promote positive safety behaviors, such as use of smoke detectors, fire extinguishers in barns, buildings, residences, and vehicles or equipment. Farm areas should be free of clutter and obstacles. Guards should be in place around machinery in the shop or fields, and solvents, cleaning agents, fuels, and wastes should be stored in approved and marked containers. Persons should never be shown stepping or reaching over a rotating shaft, leaning over a conveyor, or hand-feeding materials into any machine with moving blades, augers, reels, or pickup mechanisms. Persons shown around machinery shown be shown with well fitting clothing and without items such as ties, jewelry, bandannas, or loosely tied clothing, which could become entangled.
Anyone driving an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) should be wearing a helmet, goggles, gloves, boots or hard shoes, and long legged pants and long-sleeved shirts. Bump caps, hard hats, or at minimum, full brim hats should be shown on workers exposed to direct sunlight. Baseball hats have recently been shown to be little help in avoiding the high rates of skin cancer suffered by farmers.
Scenes in the farm shop should feature a clean and well-maintained area, with welding areas with curtains and gas cylinders restrained, and obvious eye and ear protection, eyewash and hand washing facilities present.
Ladders should be in good repair and firmly set. Those climbing or working from the ladder should not be over-reaching or overloaded by weight. When working in tree or vine trimming, eye protection should be worn.
As a general guideline, if you would not perform a task under the circumstances, then it should not be used. The additional time required to depict the proper use of equipment, the proper procedures, or safe habits, is a small investment with a very large return in image for ANR and potentially a lifesaver for our audiences and their families.