Barns can be hazardous to your health
Statistics show that agricultural enterprises, including equestrian-related facilities, are among the most hazardous workplaces. Accidents with machinery and vehicles account for over one-half of fatalities. Too often machinery and vehicles are not kept in good repair and are used casually without consideration of the damage and injury they can cause when safety procedures are not followed.
Falls, fires, horse-related injuries, accidents related to structural problems or careless housekeeping, electrical shock, lightning strikes, drownings, as well as cancer and respiratory diseases caused by environmental factors inherent in the keeping of horses also take a large toll each year.
With fore thought, planning, and a little effort, you can make sure that you, your animals, employees, and visitors will be safe in your equestrian enterprise whether large or small.
Horses should always be respected for the large animals they are. No running, shouting, or playing should be allowed in the stable or barn areas. Never assume that a horse heard or saw you or anyone else approaching and don't touch a horse unexpectedly. A kick or a bite may follow.
Another important safety measure that everyone should follow is wearing appropriate clothing. Wearing functional clothing that stays close to the body while protecting it should be the rule in all cases. Slip-proof protective footgear should be worn at all times for obvious reasons. Helmets should be worn whenever needed including when riding and working out horses.
Use proper tack and lead rope with horses and make sure they are adjusted properly to prevent accidents. Check all doors and latches before leaving stables and barn areas, thereby preventing horses from getting loose, causing damage or ingesting things that may cause colic. Never allow children to be in barns or stables unattended and make sure children have the full attention of a responsible adult any time they are around horses.
Protect humans and horses in the wash rack area
The second most dangerous area in the horse barn is often the wash rack area because of the exposure to water and electricity.
Slippery cement floors can lead to falls hard enough to break bones. If the floors are cracked or uneven, the risk of falls rises. Wearing slip-proof, well-fitting footwear is important when working in any area that may become slippery when wet.
Rubber mats or floors that have been "roughened" to prevent slipping and sliding will help save everyone involved, including horses, from being injured because of a fall.
Dealing with Floods
If your barn and stable are in an area that is prone to flooding, have an emergency plan with carefully-determined escape routes for both people and animals. If you receive advance warning that flooding is imminent, move your animals along with feed and clean water to higher ground.
Make sure they will not be left in standing water or in areas that may later be cut off by flooding. Many county extension offices in flood-prone areas have information relative to what to do in cases of flooding. Make use of as much local information as possible,
Barn Safety Rule #1
Always stop, look, and listen when working with or around horses. Alertness will save the day in more ways than one.