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Our Mission: To enable individuals and communities to take an active part in the cultivation of systems that provide the highest quality fruits, vegetables, herbs and other yields, in a way that benefits themselves, cares for the land and environment, and provides a surplus to use, share and reinvest into the system.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

"S" is for September, and Safety

I had a great week this week! 

Took Friday "off" and helped Ralph and a group from AmeriCorps put in the support posts for the fruiting walls at the Forest Avenue Outreach Community Orchard. Most of the trees planted earlier this year look great!
  ...and I got to enjoy a pear from the existing tree there. Yum!

I also got some of the final plants put in on a project.  A couple more waiting to arrive from the nursery and we'll be ready to grow.

Around my home, I collected some seed, potted up some plants in the nursery and let the kids pick some pie pumpkins and carrots.  I also found some great deals on end of year stock that I got planted in the yard as well. 

All in all, a great start to September!

A couple things did happen that made me think though, and I feel I should share.  While finishing up at the orchard, most things were packed away, the conversation went like this. 

     "Well, I'm glad we didn't need the first-aid kit!"

     "Me too, I'm always worried about that..."

A couple minutes later I was driving a nail on the support to hold the post in place for the concrete to set, and WHAM!  I got my finger with the hammer.  Smarted.  But I finished the nail, and realized  that I was bleeding pretty good.  There may have been a gasp or two from the by standers.

Getting better after a day
As a band aid and some extra tape were applied...

     "We had just said, 'glad we didn't need the first aid kit!'"

     "Yeah, I know..."

With my dry skin from not always wearing my gloves, it laid it open pretty good.  But I heal pretty quick.

It's a good thing, too. 

While finishing up the project planting, I was trying to get done so I could get home by a certain time.  I got in a hurry and a little sloppy.  My foot slipped off the top of the spade and the corner bit me in the arch of my foot.  Not a big deal, but the tenderness probably slowed me down more than if I hadn't hurried and I did get a decent bruise out of the deal.

So, this week's blog post is about Safety - being aware of the things that can go wrong and minimizing the risks.  Mine were minor but with harvest season coming up and lots of Fall chores around the yard and garden, it's a good time for a reminder.

Some of the best ways to avoid injuries are:
  • paying attention to the task at hand
  • staying out of the "line of fire"
  • use the right tool for the job
  • wear correct protective gear or apparel
My example of being in a hurry caused me to slip, hurting my foot.  I was focused on the time and not being careful.  Other examples include distracted driving by texting or talking on a cell phone.  Already a proven deadly practice, these can be even more so with the addition of slow moving farm equipment on the roads.  When using farm equipment be sure to watch for overhead power lines, exposed PTOs and other operators.

"Line of Fire" describes the path of a flying tool or part in the event of an accident or mechanical failure.  Make sure all equipment guards are in place; never try to bypass the mechanism.  Stopping a lawn mower, if a child or pedestrian is near so that if an unknown rock or other object cannot become a missile and injure them.  Watching out for your knuckles when twisting a wrench on a stuck bolt or nut.  A good rule of thumb is always cutting away from your body with a knife.  Being aware of what's beyond your target when shooting and hunting, is another example.

Always using the right tool for the job will go a long way in keeping you safe.  Tools are designed for a purpose, and at times we may be tempted to stretch it beyond what it was designed for.  Screwdrivers are not chisels.  Pennies are not fuses.  I've seen scissors used countless times in place of screwdrivers, chisels or prying tools.  One slip and here comes the pain. 

Protective gear and apparel could be a post unto themselves, but here are some of the top things I think you should use. 
  • Gloves are a great example of protective gear.  Cheap cotton ones can keep your hands from getting blisters while raking, shoveling or hammering.  Leather ones give you more protection against abrasions or sharp thorns and twigs. 
  • Good boots can protect your feet from injury.  High ones can prevent you from twisting ankles, and steel toes can protect feet from heavy or dropped objects.  A steel shank could have helped the arch of my foot when it slipped off the shovel. 
  • Safety glasses are probably the most important piece of protective gear you can wear.  Eyes won't heal they way skin or even bone can.  And the smallest of flying fragments can ruin your workday or worse, cause major damage including blindness.
  • There are many, many other protective items that should be used based on the situation:
    • Hearing protection
    • Dust masks and respirators
    • Rubber gloves
    • Goggles or Face shields
    • Hardhat or Helmet
    • Chainsaw chaps or aprons
    • and more

These gloves need replaced after turning that pile of rocks into a retaining wall

So, be careful out there!  Stay safe and healthy this Fall season so we can enjoy the Winter and do this adventure again next Spring!

Thanks for stopping by, and have a GREAT week!!!

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