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Sep 22, 2014
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November 2013 Archive for Farm Talk on the Front Porch

RSS By: Grinnell Mutual, AgWeb.com

You face risks as you cultivate crops and raise livestock. We’ll share tips, stories and recommendations to help you protect property and prevent costly losses on the farm. It's our Policy of Working Together®.

A clean work area is a must for an injury-free workday

Nov 12, 2013

The importance of good "housekeeping" cannot be over-emphasized to protect you and your employees. The condition of your business is a reflection of efficiency and safety. Housekeeping is not limited to keeping the place clean; it is also concerned with keeping equipment and materials in good repair and in their proper place. Good housekeeping is essential to preventing losses or injuries.

Your family relies on you for a steady income. The best way to insure this is to keep your work area clean. Wages lost because of an accident is money lost forever. Every injury caused by housekeeping can be prevented if everyone helps to keep the work area clean. 

Preventing accidents can be easy

Many accidents can be prevented through good housekeeping. Here are a few common ones:

  1. Tripping over loose objects on floors, stairs and platforms.
  2. Slipping on wet, greasy or dirty floors.
  3. Bumping against projecting or misplaced material.
  4. Puncturing or scratching hands or other body parts on protruding nails, hooks or rods.
  5. Injuries from falling objects.
  6. Many fires are started from oil or debris that has collected in corners or pits where it might go unnoticed. A spark or ash from a cigarette could start a fire, which might be difficult to detect.
  7. Mistaking the contents of an unmarked container of material.


Good housekeeping: no shortcuts

Unfortunately, there aren’t any shortcuts to good housekeeping. No one likes to work in a dirty, cluttered place, so everyone has to be responsible for keeping the surrounding areas neat and safe.

Here's a simple checklist to use:

  1. Are aisles clear and free from obstructions, loose flooring, etc.?
  2. Are stairs and ramps free from obstructions? Are handrails and stair treads in good repair?
  3. Do floors give good traction? 
  4. Is there good personal housekeeping evident?
  5. Are there leakages, either from overhead or elsewhere that are causing hazards?
  6. If first aid materials are kept on hand, are they sanitary, fresh and in ample supply?


It is easier, safer and more efficient to prevent a mess than to clean it up after it happens.

Keep your teen safe on the road

Nov 07, 2013

Teenagers are nearly five times more likely to be involved in a crash. In fact, one out of every 11 licensed teenaged drivers will be involved in a reported auto mishap. Don’t let your teenager become a statistic. Teaching safe driving do’s and don’ts can make a difference.

Tips for Teens

  • Do wear a seatbelt. Make sure you and your passengers wear your seat belts. It’s not only the law, it saves lives.
  • Do drive the speed limit. Speed-related crashes cause millions of dollars of damage and hundred of deaths each year. Anticipate delays and leave early.  You’ll avoid a speeding ticket which could raise your insurance rates.
  • Don’t text while driving. Texting, talking on cell phones, fiddling with the radio, eating, and day-dreaming are deadly distractions. Focus on your driving and the road ahead. Check your mirrors frequently.
  • Don’t drink and drive. Your driving skills are impaired with your first drink – so don’t start. Even if you feel in control, you’re not. If alcohol is consumed on an empty stomach, it can reach your brain in two minutes. It’s impossible to judge what your functioning level might be. More than 25% of drivers under 21 killed on the roadways have a blood alcohol content of .10 or higher.
  • Don’t make assumptions. The only thing you can assume about another car with a turn signal on is that their turn signal is on. It may not be turning at all. Don’t pull out in front of a car unless you are sure they are turning.


Check the Insurance Information Institute for more tips to keep your teenage driver safe and your teen’s insurance rates low.



Put the brake on deer hits encourages Grinnell Mutual

Nov 04, 2013

With daylight fading earlier each evening, more people commute at dusk, the peak time for deer-vehicle collisions.  During the final months of the year, with farmers in the fields, the onslaught of hunters, and mating season cause deer to be on the move, especially across two-lane highways.   

According to the Claims division at Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company, deer hit claims nearly double over the average during the months of October, November, and December.  In 2012, the monthly average for deer hit claims from January through September was 264.  Deer hits rose to 506 in October.

Considering the cost of medical payments and out-of-pocket expenses paid by vehicle owners in addition to vehicle damage, the Insurance Information Institute (III) estimates over $4.1 billion is spent on deer-vehicle collisions in the United States each year.  On average, Grinnell Mutual will pay over $2,500 per deer-hit claim this year.  Location matters according to the III, which ranks each state for its overall likelihood of collision with deer.  Iowa is currently ranked third in the U.S. with one out of 73.4 motorists likely to hit a deer.  Nationally, III estimates one out of every 174.0 motorists will hit a deer in the next year. (Click to find out the likelihood of a deer-vehicle collision in your state.)

Don’t veer for deer

The safest thing drivers can do when a deer crosses their path is to brake firmly and hit the deer, despite the natural inclination to swerve.  The unintended consequences of swerving are severe.

"A lot of deer hit accidents that involve injuries occur because people swerve to miss the deer, but go into the ditch, roll the vehicle, or hit a solid object.  Drivers are better off trying to brake in a controlled manner and keep the vehicle in their lane," says Grinnell Mutual Assistant Vice President of Claims Scott Sharp.

"The best way to minimize damage in all auto accidents is to drive defensively—pay attention, wear your seatbelt, and drive the speed limit," says Sharp. 

The following tips should be considered by drivers before getting behind the wheel and traveling in an area where deer activity is high:

  • High risk travel times.  Deer are nocturnal animals looking for food at night.  That means the most dangerous times for driving are at dusk and dawn.  Take extra caution, especially around heavily foliaged areas and deer crossing road signs.
  • Deer rarely travel alone.  If one is spotted, there are likely more nearby, so slow down and look for others. 
  • Use high beams.  The deer’s eyes may reflect the vehicle’s headlights, so use high-beams when there’s no oncoming traffic and watch the ditches while driving.
  • Don’t veer for deer.  By swerving to avoid a deer hit, drivers are more likely to hit oncoming traffic, road signs, or roll the vehicle.  Damage to vehicles caused by swerving is generally covered under collision coverage, in which case the driver may be liable for the damages and injuries sustained by other vehicles.  Deer hits, on the other hand, are generally covered with other than collision (OTC), or comprehensive, insurance coverage. 
  • Brake firmly.  The best thing to do if a deer crosses the road or stops in front a vehicle is to brake firmly.
  • Don’t try to move the deer.  A struck deer may still be alive and could hurt someone.  Report the accident to the local authorities, who can remove the deer.
  • Make the claim.  After a deer hit, drivers should report the claim to their insurance agent.


Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company, with headquarters in Grinnell, Iowa, has been in business since 1909 and provides reinsurance and property and casualty insurance products for home owners, farm owners and business owners through more than 1,600 independent agents in 12 Midwestern states. The company is the largest primary reinsurer of farm mutual companies in North America.


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