Slow down and stay safe this spring

Cheryl Skjolaas, UW-Extension specialist
Director, Wisconsin Center for Agricultural Safety
Department of Biological Systems Engineering
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
(608) 262-6330
(608) 265-0568

Cheryl Skjolaas explains why slowing down can help you stay safe as you head to the field and gardens this spring

For more safety information:

3:01 – Total time

0:21 – What gets people in a hurry
0:52 – What happens when you hurry
1:33 – Safety precautions
2:50 – Lead out

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Sevie Kenyon: Cheryl, tell us a little bit about what creates this kind of pressure that gets people in a hurry?

Cheryl Skjolaas: There’s kind of that human behavior factor to it. We have that sense of needing to get things done and we build up that internal pressure. We focus on getting it done; the weather is moving in, we feel short on time. So there’s that rush I got to get this done. That’s when we hurry up, we take those shortcuts, we might be pushing it too hard and not taking good care of ourself.

Sevie Kenyon: Cheryl, what are some of the consequences of being in a hurry?

Cheryl Skjolaas: The consequences are going to depend on the type of work you’re doing, but what we see in the agriculture, the farm machinery side of things is when we take those shortcuts something’s gone wrong. We don’t take time to turn that power off to that machinery; it can lead to the loss of a limb from an entanglement. It can mean that the equipment wasn’t blocked up properly and falls and creates crushing injuries. Even things like coming off the operator platform wrong, you jump down there’s a twisted ankle, your knee goes out, a hip. Even the small things that you think I’m just going to save a step can cost you big time!

Sevie Kenyon: What are some good safety precautions?

Cheryl Skjolaas: Start each day with the safety first attitude. You work throughout the day and that you check in on everybody because sometimes we’re going to be that lone worker. If we’ve communicated our plans for the day we’re going to be able to know if something’s gone wrong because somebody’s not coming home on time. Doing some prepping on emergency response; you know I always kind of look at it if I am prepared for an emergency, then things can’t go wrong. But it’s that factor of preparing for an emergency; we’re going to help save time and help get that person the best treatment. Even things like getting the first aid kits back in the tractors and trucks and replenished. Having a fire extinguisher checked so that it’s ready to go; writing out directions so that if somebody has to call for directions to a farm field you’re not wondering what road you’re on and having those out with your equipment in the places that you’re at. And then it is important to take time for yourself; prevent that fatigue from totally setting in. Get out of the operator position or the job that you’re doing, take a break, be sure to be eating properly, stay hydrated, take care of yourself, prevent that fatigue and in the long run it’s really going to save you.

Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Cheryl Skjolaas, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, Wisconsin and I’m Sevie Kenyon.

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