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Provided by Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
Mona Weiss lives on a nine-acre hobby farm in Lucas County where she and her husband grow blueberries; care for horses, chickens and ducks; and harvest turkey and venison. Mona is also a safety consultant for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, giving her a unique perspective on the agriculture industry.
Passion for safety
Developing a passion for safety was no accident for Weiss. She specifically remembers feeling pulled to help those in agriculture at an early age. She grew up in a small town in Indiana and would go to church and see the toll of the accidents from those in the ag community, specifically lost limbs, hands or feet. There were always a few farmers who had suffered life-changing accidents in attendance every Sunday. This led her to obtain a degree in occupational safety and health and work in some sort of safety capacity for 34 years now.
“Safety consulting is the coolest job ever. I love my profession; I wouldn’t have started into it if I didn’t. We help every kind of business in Ohio,” Weiss said.
Incidents in agriculture can be fatal
While many agricultural processes have changed significantly over the years, Weiss says one thing remains true to this day: “The penalty for a mistake in an agriculture setting could cost you your life.”
Weiss and other BWC safety consultants throughout the state help Ohio businesses avoid accidents and remain productive. Here’s some advice she offers:
- Whether you operate a family farm or larger agricultural business, if you are a BWC policy holder, you should be taking advantage of BWC’s consulting services. The services are free and confidential and can give you an outside look at the safety of your day-to-day operations. Small indicators, such as missing machine guards or risky actions can be identified by consultants to help prevent larger problems later.
- Too many agriculture businesses only pay attention to safety to stay in regulatory compliance. Everyone, including small family farms, needs to look at their injury potential and what they can do to lower the risk. Safety consultants can work with you to develop effective solutions to these problems.
- We get so used to routine on our farms that it often seems the minute you change the way you do things is when you get hurt. In an accident there is never one cause but several, many of which can be eliminated with proper education and planning.
Prevention is key
Agriculture is ranked as one of the most hazardous industries nationwide. There’s such a variety of hazards in agriculture, including machinery, heat-related issues, musculoskeletal disorders, chemical pesticides, ammonia, electrical hazards, engulfment hazards, and the list goes on. In fact, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, every day, about 100 agricultural workers suffer a lost-work-time injury.
Weiss wants everyone in the agriculture industry in Ohio to know about all the help available to create and maintain safe working environments. Working with a safety consultant is like having the lessons-learned and best-practices of hundreds of different businesses and situations available at your fingertips for your specific needs. A safety consultant can get you started on the path to safety or help you make your existing safety program even better.
If you’d like to request a safety consultation, you can either contact your local BWC service office, call 800-644-6292, or submit a request online. Please have your BWC policy number ready. A safety consultant will contact you within two business days.
Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. We’ve got you Covered.
Established in 1912, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is the exclusive provider of workers’ compensation insurance in Ohio, serving 249,000 public and private employers. With nearly 1,600 employees and assets of approximately $25 billion, BWC is one of the largest state-run insurance systems in the United States. For more, visit bwc.ohio.gov.
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington, D.C.Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
Through its policies it brings together people in the agricultural community and invests in building vibrant communities that support agriculture.Future employees, leaders
If you have issues with local planning or have legal questions, someone at the Farm Bureau has the answer for you, or they’ll connect you with someone who does.Hansen's Greenhouse
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