Kimmel Orchard hosts Farm Safety Day

Syracuse Journal-Democrat

On June 4th, 100 local youth participated in a local Farm Safety Day camp at Kimmel Orchard.  Participants were provided with education on numerous topics including ATV Safety, mower safety, PTO hazards, respirator usage, mental health consciousness, Internet Safety, Zoonoses disease control, UNL mobile beef lab and Animal Safety.  The Otoe County Sheriff’s office provided a demonstration with the drug dog to end the day.   The day was made possible by many local and generous donors and sponsors.  

Mower Safety - During the rotations, participants learned a valuable message about mower safety.  Safety measures were discussed including everything from making sure adults are home and seeking assistance when needed, mowing only during daylight hours and not mowing when the grass is wet due to extra hazards.  Youth learned how destructive the blades truly can be, rotating 40 times in less than ¾ second. It was enforced to wear protective gear and clothing when mowing including hard-soled/closed-toe shoes, safety goggles and ear plugs. 

Animal Safety - Brent Johnson provided a session on animal safety on the farm.  He explained the relationship between the size of animals, and the force that they can provide.  Even though it’s tempting to approach animals, children were given a discussion to understand the dangers of large animals and how they can kick, push and cause damage. Animals can be easily spooked or frightened by unfamiliar, unexpected or loud shrilling noises.  Johnson expressed the importance of monitoring animal signs of when it might not be safe to be around them.  It’s crucial to watch an animals demeanor and risk areas such as mother animals with new babies, animals experiencing a environmental change or those with a change in caregivers.  Participants were able to see visuals of different sizes of animals provided by University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  

Zoonoses - An invisible hazard that may exist with animals is the danger of diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans. These diseases and infections are known as zoonoses. Washing hands with warm soapy water after touching animals is one precaution to help prevent certain types of zoonotic disease transference. Another prevention method is vaccinations for specific diseases. Examples of animal related diseases include: 1. Rabies 2. Salmonella 3. E-coli 4. Ringworm.  Erin Steinhoff of UNL Extension provided this session where the partakers could utilize the “glow” powder to see how long you need to wash your hands to rid of germs. 

Respirator Safety - Breathe Easy!  During a lunch break, farm safety participants met with Ellen Duysen from UNMC to learn about “dust to viruses” where they learned about the importance of protecting their lungs from all kinds of hazards. Questions about what our lungs look like, how they work and how we can keep them in great shape were answered. 

PTO Hazards - A PTO shaft rotates at a speed of either 540 rpm (9 rotations per second) or 1,000 rpm (16.6 rotations per second).  Todd Zimmerman provided a demonstration showing how quickly a person’s limb can be pulled into and wrapped around a PTO stub or driveline shaft several times before the person, even a person with extremely fast reflexes, can react. The fast rotation speed, operator error, and lack of proper guarding make PTOs a persistent hazard on farms and ranches.  Extra PTO precautions include not wearing loose fitting clothing around PTO-driven equipment, Tie back long hair or secure it under a hat before operating equipment, Always disengage the PTO and shut off the tractor before dismounting the tractor, and never work on machinery or equipment while the engine is running or energized.