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Dairy farm safety courses offered

Agriculture ranks third in the total number of fatal work injuries behind construction and transportation/warehousing. It ranks first in the rate of non-fatal injuries per thousand workers and in this category, it is more than double the rate of the next two industries, mining and transportation/warehousing.

While all farm types have hazards, dairy farms have added hazards to which workers are exposed every day: livestock, machinery, wet surfaces, chemicals, inclement weather, confined spaces, manure storage and more.

These all add up to the reason the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has begun taking a closer look at dairy farms in many areas of the country. While most industries are accustomed to OSHA rules and audits, it is rather new and unfamiliar to agriculture.

University of Minnesota Extension in cooperation with the Center for Dairy Farm Safety (University of Wisconsin-River Falls) is offering a series of two-day short courses around Minnesota.

The purpose of these courses is to help dairy farmers more fully understand and identify the hazards that exist around their farms, and develop plans to make their farms safer. A final benefit is to help farms meet OSHA standards should they be audited.

The two-day short course will address the following topics:

• Introduction to OSHA

• Injury trends

• Hazard identification and risk assessment

• Hazard communications

• Tractors and farm machinery

• Hazards with animal handling

• Hazards in farm structures

• Personal protective equipment

During the course, farmers will develop outlines appropriate for a safety plan to implement on their own farms. Tools will be offered to comply with OSHA standards and make the farm safer.

The short course will be offered at the following location and date:

• Fergus Falls, February 13 and 20, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Government Services Building, 520 West Fir Avenue.

The course takes both days for completion. Lunch is included in the registration. The cost is $15 per person for both days.

Registration can be done at or by calling (715) 425-3240.