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
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
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!"