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Tips to prevent slip-and-fall accidents on farms

Many Floridians know that an estimated 1 million people suffer injuries from slip-and-fall accidents every year across the United States, according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Slip-and-fall-accidents not only cause injuries but also cause 11,000 deaths every year.

In agriculture, falls are among the most common causes of injuries and deaths. Fortunately, these accidents can be prevented by following three easy steps: plan ahead, provide proper equipment and train workers, family members and visitors in following safety procedures at all times.

Wearing the right footwear is critical: Slip-resistant heels and treads provide better traction almost anywhere on a farm.

Farm workers should always safely store tools and other equipment when they are done using them. Some tools are tripping hazards, so putting them away can prevent falls.

Always clean spills to prevent slips. These include mud, water, manure and other liquids.

Before using equipment such as harnesses, ropes, ladders, platforms and machinery, workers should check and follow all "before use" instructions to determine if the equipment is safe to use.

For farm owners, providing workers with the right equipment for specific jobs is critical. A body harness or waist belt can limit the distance of a fall or prevent serious injury in the event of an accident.

Finally, farm owners should instruct family members and visitors how to follow the safety practices being exercised on the farm. By doing so, family members and visitors will have an increased awareness about how to prevent accidents.

Failure to follow any of these tips can result in a slip and fall accident. If that happens, an injured victim may be able file a premises liability claim that allows compensation based on incurred losses. The family of a victim who dies may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Source: Kearneyhub.com, "Prevent falls from happening on your farm," Sharry Nielsen, Feb. 16, 2014

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