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Courses offer information on avoiding dairy farm accidents

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. Agriculture is a dangerous business and not only do we work in it but many involved live in it as well.

While all farm types have hazards, dairy farms have added hazards to which workers are exposed every day - livestock, machinery, wet surfaces, hazardous cleaning chemicals, occasional inclement weather, confined spaces, manure storage, and more. These all add up to the reason the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have 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 a safer place to live and work. 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

These topics are common and may not look challenging, but one may be surprised what an audit looks at that is seldom considered in the day to day workings on the farm.

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

The short course will be offered at the following locations and dates:

St. Cloud - February 12 & 19

Midtown Center

333 W Division St

St. Cloud, MN 56301

Fergus Falls - February 13 & 20

Government Services Building (formerly the State Hospital grounds in the northwest corner of town)

520 W Fir Ave

Fergus Falls, MN 56537

McIntosh - February 14 & 21

Community Center - February 14th

City Hall - February 21st

McIntosh, MN 56556

Pipestone - March 12 & 13

Pipestone County EMS

811 5th St SE

Pipestone, MN 56164

Attendance both days is required for course completion. Each course will begin at 10:00 a.m. and conclude by 4:00 p.m. Lunch is included with registration.

The cost is $15.00 per person for both days. Registration can be done online at or via phone at 715-425-3240.

This is a jointly sponsored program of University of Minnesota Extension, the Center for Dairy Farm Safety, the North Central Risk Management Education Center, and a Susan Harwood Training grant.