Simple Ways For Your Farm Workers To Succeed

Jul 15, 2020, 1:47 PM

Stretching, lifting, using tools… what you need to know to keep your workers healthy.

The weather has been great in many parts of the country, including here in our six-state region. Thanks to the hard work of thousands of farm workers, grocery store shelves and farm market tables have stayed full of good food, even during the pandemic. They offer fruit and vegetables, meat and milk. We here at Hastings Mutual have ideas to help make sure our valuable farm workers are keeping themselves healthy and safe while they’re on the job.

The kind of injuries that farm work often causes are wrist sprains, sore backs, and other kinds of damage officially called “work-related musculoskeletal disorders.” Machines can assist with some tasks, but many farm jobs rely on humans.
Farm ergonomics tips

Here are a few ways to keep yourself and your employees healthy and safe while at work.

  • Don’t bend over or stretch your arms to work on something for more than a few minutes. Instead, bring the project to you by putting it on a work bench, or giving yourself a comfortable seat to get yourself lower to the ground.
  • Find tools that are comfortable in your hand and work well. You don’t want them too loose, swinging open when they’re not in use, or too difficult or time-consuming to operate. It’s recommended that the handle of a tool allow your thumb and other fingers to wrap around and overlap slightly.
  • You’ve probably seen guidelines on lifting properly before: squat down and lift with your legs, not your back. Use a cart or other device to carry heavy weights long distances (more than a few feet). Look for ways to make the heavy weights you’re carrying easier to move. The closer a container is to your body, the easier it is to carry. Durable and easy-to-grasp handles make a container full of vegetables much more convenient to move.
  • Take breaks, too. Some jobs require you to work steadily for a long time (for example, if you’re paid according to the amount of produce you pick, instead of by hour). It’s in your financial best interest to collect as much as you can for as long as you can. But if you don’t give your body a chance to recover, you might not be able to do the work at all.
  • Like most industries, technology is available to make work easier. Look for — or build! — tools that remove the stress and strain on a worker’s body while still accomplishing the same task.

If your farm’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage is with Hastings Mutual, you have access to the FirstCall Work Injury Hotline. An injury can happen even though you’re using safety tools and guidelines. You can call the hotline and get over-the-phone advice on how to treat non-life-threatening injuries. That can get your crew back to work more quickly and without additional expense.

Questions? Let us know in the comments. 

The Mutual Understanding blog and Hastings Mutual videos are made available for educational purposes only. The information referred to is not an official company statement, corporate policy, or offer of coverage. Refer to your insurance policy for specific coverage. There is no representation as to the accuracy or completeness of any information found by following any link on this site. Please contact your local independent insurance agent with further questions and for more details on any insurance policy-related information you read here.

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