Having a good safety plan is critical to a business’s success, enabling higher productivity and higher employee morale. And though it’s certainly on all business managers’ radar, it’s not always formally addressed. Get ahead. Make sure you’re not just giving lip service to safety, but that it’s part of the fabric of your farm’s operational success and lifeblood.
Here are five things you can do as a farm owner today to give your farm safety program higher visibility with staff and enable your employees to work reassured.
Write the Policy Down – Many farms have farm safety programs, but there’s one small issue. The entire manual is in the head of the farm owner or manager and their brain hard drive is not exactly accessible by any of the employees. Have your safety manual or program in hard copy for your employees to access when they need it.
Education and Training – In order to properly get employees to understand the safety program it makes sense to offer training and proper education on the expectations. Before you put someone behind the wheel of your 100′, high clearance sprayer, why not provide some guidance on the expectations in the field, yard and on the highway? Don’t expect everyone to conform to recommended safety practices if you haven’t provided proper instruction.
Reward Performance – Take a lead from the manufacturing industry and reward employees and the whole team for accident free days. Rewarding safety performance reinforces safe behaviour and habits among the team.
Correct Violations – Make sure a safety violation does not become regular behaviour based on lack of corrective action. Many companies correct safety violations during a weekly safety meeting as reminders to the entire group (without excluding and scorning individuals in front of their peers). Ensure that you record significant safety violations for review time as safety should be a component for the employees formal review as well.
Follow the Policy Yourself and live by example – So many farm owners talk about safety but then don’t walk the walk themselves. Have you ever had your Dad scold people for driving too fast in the yard and then drive through the yard himself at warp speed? Your employees will not take safety seriously if you you do not follow the same safety policies. Just because you own the place does not omit you from the safety program. If you want your employees to work safely, you should too!