Safety should always be your No. 1 priority on the farm. Potential dangers lurk around every corner—from tractor accidents to limb-damaging equipment to run-ins with agitated animals. By knowing what risks are the greatest for your farm, you can properly mitigate them.
To help farmers understand the costliest hazards on the farm, Nationwide has released the most common commercial agribusiness claims from 2017. These categories accounted for more than 50,000 claims.
Top 10 Agribusiness Insurance Claims
1. Motor Vehicle Accidents
2. Workers Compensation for Disability or Death
3. Misapplication of Chemicals or Drift
4. Slip, Fall or Injury
5. Food Related Claim
6. Animal Caused Damage or Bite
7. Glass Breakage
8. Wind Damage
9. Hail or Lightning Damage
10. Fire Damage or Loss
"By sharing our top claims data, we hope to help agribusiness owners recognize areas of their operation that may need increased safety precautions," said Carol Alvarez, vice president of claims for Nationwide, in a news release. "These national trends can help business owners pinpoint areas where they can take extra measure to keep their employees, products and equipment safe."
During the past three years, motor vehicle accidents have tallied more than 20,000 commercial agribusiness claims. The most frequent types of accidents include: rear end accidents, backing into vehicles and accidental strike of a stationary object. Meanwhile, the accidents creating the most damage include: overturned vehicles, head-on collisions, intersection accidents.
Implement Safety Protocols
Especially during busy seasons, farm safety can take a backseat to other business priorities critical for economic success, says Chris Barron, director of operations and president of Carson and Barron Farms in Rowley, Iowa.
“There needs to be an equal focus on risk management,” says Barron, also a financial consultant for Ag View Solutions and Top Producer columnist. “Most producers associate risk management with insurance and marketing, but safety should be on the list, too.”
Barron provides this list of best practices for farm safety:
- Conduct regular meetings. Alternately, include safety at the top of the agenda at each meeting you hold.
- Use online videos. There are tons of farm-safety videos on YouTube that can keep safety at the front of your team’s minds.
- Make gear accessible. Purchase ample protective items for eyes, ears, skin, hands and feet along with safety harnesses and other items for specific tasks.
- Review chemical safety. Hold separate discussions about handling of herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides before those products are applied in the field.
- Clarify roadway expectations. Spell out speed limits in farmyards and on gravel roads. Enforce a mandatory no-cellphone policy while driving. Ensure team members obey traffic signs, even stop signs on gravel roads.
- Inspect equipment on a regular basis to ensure all safety shields are in place.
- Monitor electrical components, paying special attention to any outdoor electrical motors, connections and outlets.
- Keep workspaces clean. This includes your shop. Limit clutter and junk.
- Maintain current inspections. This applies to all vehicles, especially semis. Include all service trucks and other support vehicles that get out on the road.
- Stay calm. We all experience emotions during busy seasons, which can lead to poor decisions that put everyone in danger. Lack of sleep, a hurried mindset, frustration, distraction, pressure and a sense of being overwhelmed with workload can cause us to lose sight of the value of safety. Rest and a good plan can work wonders.
Barron also has a great list of semi-truck use guidelines, which can help reduce vehicle accidents. Nationwide recommends the following risk management tips to help agribusiness professionals reduce motor vehicle accidents and keep their employees safe:
- Equip vehicles with collision mitigation and telematics monitoring systems.
- Develop standard hiring criteria for drivers comprised of new driver orientations and documented training.
- Develop "safe following distance" and "distracted driving" policies that include comprehensive training and enforcement measures.
- Provide additional documented training for commercial truck drivers.