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Module 6: Weather Safety


Weather can change dramatically in a short period of time.  Being aware of changing conditions and what is on the way is very important to you and your safety on the farm.  The key points to this module are: 

Where do I get information on the weather?

There are many resources to use that provide current conditions and forecasts.  Most of them have Apps for your phone that allow you to access this information quickly.   Depending on the size of your farm, you may consider installing your own weather station.

Severe Weather Hazards

The hazards posed by severe weather include lightning, excessive rain/snow, tornados, hail, excessive heat/cold, fog, and wind.  Knowing what to do for each makes a difference. 

Tornado - Take shelter immediately in a strudy structure.  Even though they are facinating to watch, take shelter.  Flying debris can travel a long distance from the center of the tornado.  

Large Hail & Severe Wind - Move to a shelter and stay away from windows. 

Flooding - know your area and if it is flood prone.  If so, seek higher ground immediately.  Rising flood waters move fast and have extremely powerful currents.  Do not drive through flooded areas. 

Lightning - move indoors or seek low ground when you hear thunder.  Most weather apps have radar that detects lightning locations. 

Fog - operate vehicles with extra caution and increase your visibility.   

Watches and Warnings

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Heat and Cold Stress Events

Heat Stress

Heat stress results in an average of 35 fatalities per year, and over 2,700 cases with days away from work.  Agriculture is one of the leading work environments contributing to this problem.  OSHA made heat-related hazards a National Emphasis Program in April 2022.

What is the difference between Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion?

Heat exhaustion is the early stage of heat stoke.  If symptoms are noticed early enough, a person should never suffer heat stroke.  Here is a look at the differences: 


Again, early treatment of heat exhaustion symptoms with basic first aid can prevent heat stroke.  If you notice any of the symptoms listed for heat stroke, continue with first aid and call 911.  

More information and prevention guidance can be found here:

OSHA - NIOSH Infosheet.pdf

Cold Stress

When the body is unable to warm itself, serious cold-related illnesses and injuries may occur, and permanent tissue damage and death may result.  The main concerns with cold stress are trench foot, frostbite, and hypothermia.

Frostbite and Hypothermia

Frostbite is caused by the freezing of the skin and tissues. Frostbite can cause permanent damage to the body, and in severe cases can lead to amputation.  

Symptoms include numbness, tingling or burning sensation, aching, or bluish/pale skin.  

Hypothermia occurs when the normal body temperature (98.6°F) drops to less than 95°F. Exposure to cold temperatures causes the body to lose heat faster than it can be produced.

Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up the body’s stored energy. Hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, but it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40°F) if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or immersion in cold water.

Early symptoms may include:

  • Shivering
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of coordination 
  • Confusion.  

Later symptoms may include:

  • No shivering
  • Reddish skin
  • Dilated pupils
  • Slowed pulse and breath

More information and prevention guidance can be found here:

Cold Weather Guidance.pdf