Farm Worker Job Safety Analysis

When there are people other than yourself working on the farm, take the time to fully explain their job, especially one that can be hazardous. One of the most effective ways to improve workplace safety on the farm is to do a job safety analysis – a review of the hazards and potential injuries that could occur.

Michael Pate is an Extension safety specialist at Penn State University. He says to start by breaking the job down into steps.

"There’s no real hard and fast rule for breaking a job down into steps. Most often we try to avoid being too complicated with lots of steps, and we try to avoid being too vague without enough information to get the job done safely. So, some rules of thumb that we’ve seen is keeping a job to about 10 or fewer steps is recommended," says Pate. "If it requires more, we recommend breaking the job down into separate tasks."

Pate recommends using experienced workers to help, which is a great way to get them involved in the whole process. Once the steps are in place, identify how a person could get hurt completing a step.

"You should strive to identify the obvious as well as potential hazards, including anything that’s maybe minor or have a low probability of occurrence. We can list how the injury can occur and the type of injury. We also may have to question employees further if they don’t report any hazards associated with the job, we don’t have to be complacent with their response, well I don’t really think there’s a hazard," he says. "So, you might have to keep questioning and probing."

Pate advises reviewing the process when new employees are hired, there are changes in a job, or at least annually.