The harvest can be a particularly busy and dangerous time for farmers, which is why National Farm Safety and Health Week is held every fall. This year, the campaign takes place from September 20 to 26 and promotes the theme Every Farmer Counts. To help you assess your habits, here are 20 tips for safer farming.
1. Learn basic first aid including CPR and emergency response skills.
2. Use personal protective equipment as needed including gloves, boots, hearing protection, face masks, and respirators.
3. Teach everyone who lives and works on your farm, as well as visitors, the appropriate safety procedures.
4. Avoid wearing loose clothing when working in confined spaces such as grain bins, silos, and hoppers.
5. Get plenty of rest, and be sure to stay hydrated and nourished throughout the day.
6. Perform safety and maintenance checks on tractors and other machines before every use.
7. Install a rollover protection structure on each tractor.
8. Use a seatbelt when operating farm equipment.
9. Prohibit additional riders on tractors.
10. Drive safely both on and off the farm.
11. Be cautious around dangerous chemicals such as anhydrous ammonia, carbon monoxide, methane gas and hydrogen sulfide.
12. Store farm chemicals away from children and livestock.
13. Make a list of all chemicals on the premises for firefighters to reference in the event of an incident.
14. Treat livestock with respect and caution.
15. Understand the flight zones of the animals you handle.
16. In confined spaces, make sure you have an exit strategy.
17. Keep bins, beds, and wagons of grain safely covered and out of the reach of children and animals.
18. Make sure no grain is flowing before you enter a bin, and always have a rope, safety harness, and two people with you.
19. To prevent fires, make sure areas with grain dust are properly ventilated and limit potential ignition sources.
20. If someone becomes submerged in grain, call 911, and don’t attempt to go in after them.
In addition to these 20 tips, be sure to have an emergency response plan specific to your operation. It should include shutdown procedures, emergency contact information (local fire department, police, etc.), and lockout procedures.
Virtual funerals: a new reality to consider
The coronavirus pandemic made large gatherings hazardous and led to government restrictions. As a result, many businesses had to adapt their practices, including funeral homes. Consequently, these essential service providers have started helping the bereaved host virtual funerals, an immersive and personal way to mark the passing of a loved one. This is fortunate, as it allows seniors and immunosuppressed individuals to safely participate in end-of-life ceremonies they would otherwise have to avoid.
An online homage
Many funeral homes are willing to assist families in hosting their ceremonies online. Funerals can be live-streamed either on social media or over a video conference platform. This type of service accommodates many of the features of an in-person event. Loved ones can read eulogies, music can be played and prayers can be delivered. Being able to carry out traditional rituals, even from afar, can help the bereaved process their grief.
While these services might sound impersonal, they’re part of a new reality and an effective way to safely pay tribute to a loved one. Plus, a virtual funeral can allow people to participate who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to attend, whether because they live far away or have reduced mobility.
Using various technologies, you can organize a safe, personalized funeral that avoids all physical contact. Consult the funeral homes in your region to find out what services they offer.
5 things to know about kids and drug use
Every year, the National Family Partnership (NFP) runs Red Ribbon Week, a national campaign aimed at educating and encouraging the public to participate in drug prevention activities. The theme for this year’s event, which takes place from October 23 to 31, is Be Happy. Be Brave. Be Drug-Free. Here are five things to remember about kids and drug use.
1. They need information
It can be awkward to discuss drug use, but phrases like “be smart” are vague. Clearly explain your values and expectations so your child knows why they should avoid drug use.
2. They have questions
3. They have their reasons
Children of all ages use drugs for different reasons. Peer pressure is one, but anxiety, depression, and other stressful situations can also trigger substance use.
4. They’ll remember
Parents often think of teens when it comes to drug prevention. However, explaining to young children how their vitamins and medications work and how to use them responsibly is just as important. Early conversations of this nature will set a precedent for discussing and understanding drug use later on.
5. They may struggle
If there’s a history of substance abuse in the family, discuss it with your children. This can prevent them from feeling ashamed later on if they struggle with substance abuse. It will also help you create a space where they feel comfortable talking to you.
Preventing drug abuse starts early and taking steps to ensure open communication is crucial.
Candy sales expected to remain steady during COVID-19 Halloween
Americans haven’t been shy about stocking their quarantine pantries with candy — sales were up 6.3 percent during the 17-week period ending at the end of June.
But what will happen with the huge eight-week selling season for Halloween?
The Hershey Company expects a reasonably good season, though they have prepared for a dip.
The Halloween season accounts for 10 percent of the candy business, with Americans purchasing about 600 million pounds for the spooky days. About 90 million pounds of that is chocolate.
Candy makers aren’t that worried about Halloween, since they believe families will find ways to celebrate even if quarantine orders are in place. After all, kids can always wear, you know, masks. In addition, there is no evidence that the novel coronavirus survives on the packaging.
At Hershey, the company has decided to make fewer Halloween-specific packages, but continue making packages of bite-sized treats.
According to Hershey, about 55 percent of their Halloween sales are for the home or office candy bowls.
3 things you need to pour a concrete slab
Concrete is a durable and affordable material that can be used to build a patio or walkway on your property. Here’s what you need to successfully pour a concrete slab.
1. A stable base
Excavate a hole that’s the right dimensions for your project, then add a layer of compacted gravel that’s at least four inches deep. This facilitates soil drainage and will help prevent the slab from shifting and cracking when the ground freezes and thaws.
2. A strong form
3. A steady hand
When you pour the concrete, make sure it seeps into every crevice. Once the form is filled, you’ll need to remove air bubbles and smooth out the surface of the slab with a bull float and trowel. Allow the concrete to harden overnight before you carefully remove the form.
Keep in mind that pouring concrete can be a challenge, particularly for large-scale projects like a garage floor. To ensure the job is done correctly, leave it to the professionals.
A renewed look at the future of energy
As the scientific community urges global leaders to rapidly and drastically scale back their reliance on fossil fuels, it’s worth taking a closer look at renewable energy. Here’s what you should know.
What is it?
Energy is considered renewable when it’s obtained from resources that are inexhaustible or at least replenished as fast as they’re consumed. There are five common types of renewable energy:
1. Solar (the use of radiant light and heat from the sun)
3. Hydro (the use of flowing water to produce electricity)
4. Geothermal (the use of thermal heat generated and stored in the Earth)
5. Biomass (the use of organic matter to generate energy)
It should be noted that biomass energy is only considered renewable if its source isn’t consumed faster than it can be regenerated.
What can you do?
While widespread systemic change is necessary to mitigate the effects of climate change, there are steps you can take at home to reduce your reliance on non-renewable energy sources. Here are a few ways to make your household more sustainable:
• Replace your natural gas or oil furnace with a hydroelectric system
• Choose a geothermal heat pump for a new home
• Install solar panels on the roof to heat your pool
• Trade in your gas-powered car for an electric vehicle
In addition to helping protect the environment, you may be able to benefit from government-issued rebates when you make the switch to clean energy.
3 eco-friendly options for your funeral
Conventional burials and cremations contribute to climate change. If you want your funeral proceedings to match your environmentally conscious lifestyle, here are three green options that might be available to you.
This process uses water, sodium, potassium, and heat to dissolve the body’s soft tissues into a sterile, aqueous solution that can be safely returned to the water supply. The remaining bones can then be ground up and placed in an urn. While it’s not yet legal in all places, aquamation (also referred to as alkaline hydrolysis or bio-cremation) is gaining in popularity as an environmentally friendly alternative to burials and cremations.
3. Biodegradable urn
A popular green burial option involves placing the deceased person’s ashes in a decomposable urn. This can be made of sand and gelatine, cornstarch, recycled paper, coconut shells or other organic materials. In some cases, these burial pods can be placed beneath a sapling to help generate new life after death. Keep in mind that while the urn produces little to no pollution, this option still relies on cremation.
Speak with your family or a funeral director in your community about how you would like your remains to be handled after death.