As we all know, horses are accidents waiting to happen. Unfortunately as hard as we try it seems like it is impossible to prevent injuries.
The intent of this article is to give a few tips on how to make your barn safer, especially since many horses spend a part of their lives in one.
Tip 1: Floors - Ensure your barn aisles stay dry, as slippery aisles are a hazard for horses and humans. Cover smooth floors with mats or have concrete aisles textured to prevent slippage.
Tip 2: Electric - Ensure that your barn's electrical box is inspected and maintained on a routine basis, as faulty electrical work causes most barn fires. Resist do it yourself electrical work and hire a licensed professional to ensure your animals stay safe.
Tip 3: Roofing - A leak-proof roof is essential to your barn and everything in it. A leaky roof can rot sheathing, framing timbers, and wood siding very quickly, so ensure that your roof is maintained in a way to prevent damage.
Tip 4: Management Practices - "Always Be Checking" should be every barns motto and a ongoing process. Look for nails on the ground, sharp objects, holes in the ground, exposed/lose wiring, moldy hay, toxic weeds, unsecured grain storage to name a few. Always keep your eyes open for any dangers that your livestock could get into.
Tip 5: Hay Storage - Always if possible keep hay stored separate from your barn. If you must stack in a stall or hay loft position each bale for maximum air flow. Never stack wet, moist,heavy bales of hay because of the risk of spontaneous combustion.
Tip 6: Barn Fires - Barn fires are every horse owner's worst nightmare, but are largely preventable. Post "NO SMOKING" signs for anyone that is clueless to even think that smoking in a barn is acceptable. Ensure that you have areas around your barn large enough to accommodate a fire truck should the need arise. Create a emergency plan and keep the numbers of fire and police departments posted. Do not stockpile moldy hay or straw, feed bags, twine, etc… Hang fire extinguishers in easily accessible places and have several of them.
In terms of safety the keyword should be vigilance. Expect the unexpected and prepare for the worst and you should be prepared for most unforeseen barn disasters.