Monthly Archives

February 2019

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The Three T’s of Hiring Farm Labor

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Finding reliable employees can be a struggle in any industry. For the farming and agriculture industry, however, employers should find the time and energy to commit to reviewing the hiring process to ensure the right candidates are hired.


Identify the type of role for which the employer is hiring to determine whether the candidate needs to exhibit more labor or machinery skills. Based on that information, construct a job description highlighting those specific traits.


As many businesses in the agriculture and farming industry are family owned and operated, many times employers are hesitant about hiring an outside candidate for immediate assistance. Consider hiring a candidate for a short-term trial. The employer and trial employee will be able to test the position to ensure it is a good fit for all involved parties. As the trial period ends, the employer and trial employee can discuss the working relationship and come to an agreement about investing long-term.


An employer may run into a situation where the open position requires a laborer with very specific skills. However, characteristics of a good employee often include a positive attitude, a strong work ethic, and a shared passion for the industry and work. The employer will need to decide beforehand if a promising candidate could be trained to perform the specialized skill. Developing a candidate’s skill through on-the-job training will require considerably more time to be invested in order for the candidate to hone the skill.

Take the struggle out of onboarding a new employee by letting Harbor America do all the legwork. From electronic onboarding and tax documentation to employment verification, the experts at Harbor America will keep any business current, compliant, and operational. Get started today.

Prioritizing Respiratory Protection

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Respiratory protection is a priority when it comes to safeguarding employees from exposure to airborne contaminants while on the job. While employees may find the act of wearing respiratory protection to be a hassle, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that “when respiratory protection is required employers must have a respiratory protection program as specified in OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard.”[1]

Some respirator safety and use tips include:

  • Different types of respirators (single-use, half-face, full-face, air purifying, etc.) should be available as various types of protection may be required in a single workplace.
  • Respiratory protection facepieces should be inspected prior to use. Instruct employees to alert their supervisor if the inspection yields a crack, puncture, tear, leak, or displays any other unusual condition.
  • Request that employees keep track of their respirators to reduce the risk of inadvertently using/wearing another employee’s equipment.

OSHA sponsored respiratory protection training videos can be located on the United States Department of Labor website. Click here to access it.

Harbor America helps take the burden off employers by supplying necessary OSHA compliance resources. Contact Harbor America for more information.


Tractor Safety Tips

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The most common causes of serious injury on a tractor include rollovers, falling when climbing on or off, and being run over by a tractor or towed machinery. The Centers for Disease Control reported that tractor rollovers/overturns were the leading cause of death for farmers or farmworkers.[1] Regular review of tractor operation safety rules and regulations with employees can minimize the risk to employees.

What You Need to Know

  • The greatest dangers when driving a tractor include collisions, rollovers, run-overs, or being caught in moving parts.
  • Reduce your speed when turning to avoid a roll-over accident.
  • Each day, inspect the tractor before beginning work. Use a safety operation checklist in addition to visual inspections.
  • Collision hazards can include hidden obstacles such as rocks or a tree stump, or low hanging branches or power lines.

Take control of employee safety by regularly reviewing tractor safety rules and regulations. Contact Harbor America to start improving employee safety today.




Reducing the Risk of Hand Injury

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On the job, an employee’s hands are involved in almost every task performed. In a typical office situation, workers are at risk of suffering from repeated movements that increase the employee’s risk of carpal tunnel or tendon inflammation. On the farm, however, employees are at risk of far greater injuries to their hands and extremities.

While hand injuries on the job are quite common, there are steps employees can take to avoid these risks:

  • Never operate machinery that does not have an operational guard to protect an operator’s hands. If guards are damaged or need to be replaced, do so immediately once removed to avoid injury.
  • Employees should always protect their hands by wearing gloves suitable for the type of machinery they are using, when handling rough materials, lifting or moving objects.
  • Advise employees to always remove rings prior to beginning work. Rings can easily catch on machinery or other objects resulting in lacerations, broken bones, or other severe injuries.

Harbor America offers a wide range of accident and injury prevention strategies. Contact Harbor America to stay on the right side of risk.

Farm Machinery: Ensuring Employee Safety

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As one of the longest-running professions, agriculture in the United States has a rich history. Agriculture and modern-day farming have turned into one of the most hazardous industries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As an example, “every day, about 100 agricultural workers suffer a lost-work-time injury.” – [1]

Here are a few recommendations to reduce an employee’s injury risk:

Remain Alert

Aside from making sure employees are trained and fully able to handle heavy machinery (i.e. not impaired in any way or too tired), it is recommended that employers follow these general awareness safety tips:

  • Allow machinery to shut down fully prior to inspecting or performing repairs.
  • Do not remove or modify safety features.
  • Read and follow manufacturer instructions for operation.
  • Supervise inexperienced workers at all times.

Dress the Part

To avoid injuries, ask employees to wear tight-fitting clothing, tuck shirt into pants, and button long-sleeved shirts at the cuff. In an instance where gloves are necessary, verify they are task appropriate. Jewelry should not be worn. If a medical alert bracelet is necessary, secure it with an adhesive band.

Plan Ahead

Create a farm safety emergency plan, if you don’t have one already. The plan should contain information on the location of the nearest first aid kit, routes to the nearest hospital, and a list of emergency phone numbers and addresses. This plan should be reviewed regularly with family and employees to ensure familiarity with the plan’s location and contents.

Harbor America supports employer safety practices, including those mentioned here. Learn more about safety and risk management solutions including accident prevention, OSHA compliance, and unique safety plans.