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Accident Proof Your Barn

Although there is no way to completely accident proof any place were living beings are , there are some things you can do to minimize some of the classic dangers around your barn. The obvious ofcourse , do not smoke or allow others to smoke in your barn. Take special care with any types of heaters. Heat lights should only be used with proper wiring and if at all possible any heating item should be removed or unplugged prior to leaving the barn. If you live where winter snows are heavy, hopefully you have at least a 4/12 pitch on your barn roof , even then regularly check the roof. Shovel off snow and ice when the load gets heavy - a roof collapse is the mother of all barn accidents.
Install plenty of lights, with switches located next to the main doors. Place light fixtures out of your horse's reach, and cover bulbs with heavy-duty wire screening. Install motion detectors for exterior lights, so they'll switch on as you, or an intruder, approach your barn after dark.
Never drop hay or anything else out of a loft without first looking to make sure no people or animals are below. Many a dog hit with a 60 pound bale will thank you. Call out a warning to anyone who might be approaching.
Install a handrail for stairs, if your barn has them, and guardrails for loft doors and hatches you keep open in hot weather.
Keep potentially harmful medications and toxic substances, such as rat poison, in securely closed cabinets, out of the reach of curious cats, dogs, horses and children.
If you live in earthquake country, don't store bottles, jars or any heavy items on shelves where they might be shaken off. Secure them in trunks or latched cabinets. If you live in a storm or tornado belt, install lightning rods to reduce fire hazard and add hurricane strapping to your barn's roof to reduce wind/debris damage.
Keep two first-aid kits on hand - one for people, one for horses. Have a yearly routine of checking and replacing items. Just about the time you need something you used up 5 years ago is the wrong time to find it isn't there. Check from time to time to make sure your fully stocked and that the medications haven't expired.
Make sure stall and barn doors open easily, swing or slide fully out of the way, and aren't obstructed by hay bales or equipment. Stiff doors and blocked doorways invite accidents by encouraging you and your horse to squeeze through narrow openings. In an emergency, they're a disaster waiting to happen.
Keep drives and walkways clear of snow, and well-sanded for traction.
To reduce fire hazard, don't leave fans, the barn vacuum, or any other appliance hooked up, especially if they have extension cords. Every time you finish using an appliance, unplug and roll up the cord, then put everything away to reduce clutter. Use extension cords rated for outdoor use, and never run electrical cords near water. Make sure all plugs are ground fault or the extension cord is a ground fault type.
Keep aisles clear. Banish tack trunks, brush boxes, ladders, wheelbarrows, brooms, and other items to out-of-the-way storage areas, where no one will walk into them.
Level stall and aisle floors to reduce the danger of tripping. Fill places where aisle pavement has cracked; consider resurfacing with a nonslip material, such as textured concrete. If you've put down stall mats, make sure they lie flat, with no curled-up edges.
Keep halters and lead ropes handy and hanging. Never leave them on the floor or worse hanging from a lead, where you or your horse could trip on them.
Lock up feed and grain in horse- and rodent-proof containers. A food raid by a hungry horse could result in such life-threatening conditions as founder and colic. Rodent-proofing will help prevent contamination and spills.
Stand in your horse's stall and imagine all the ways he could get in trouble if he tried, (some times it seems like they do this is a good idea for the field also). Could he catch a hoof in that hay rack if he reared? Cut himself on the handle of his water bucket? Tear a nostril on a poorly fastened bucket clasp? Fix what you find. Protect glass or Plexiglas stall windows with horseproof grills.
Go on a hazard hunt: Look for popped nails, bent brackets, protruding door latches, cracked windowpanes, splintered boards, torn wire mesh, and anything else that could wound a horse or a human. Fix every offending item, even those that seem minor, because how many times have we all said thats been there for years ,"it's never happened before!"

 

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