Friday, April 24, 2015

Farm Accidents -Danger! (repost)

(This is a re-post because it somehow keeps appearing on the wrong date. If it does it one more time I'm going to trash it, poof!)) 

Did you know that farming is a really dangerous occupation? For real! It has a very high rate of injuries and death. So if you're afraid of getting hurt, reconsider the thought of getting into farming at any level. Wimps need not apply! Nor those with a low self preservation instinct. 

Farm accidents are all too common. Most accidents involve machinery and livestock. Tractors are responsible for the greatest percentage. That's a no brainer. Tractors roll over or rear up and over. Augers and shredders suck you in. PTOs tear you apart. Mowers hack you to bits and kill plenty of kids. Cows squash, trample, and otherwise bash you . Horses kick and bite. Rams and billies charge, breaking hips, legs, and backs. Even geese have been known to break arms. Roosters give nasty punctures that always seem to get instantly infected. 

But many a farmer has fallen off a harvesting ladder ending up with broken bones. No gasoline guzzling machine needed. I know a farmer who beaned himself in the head harvesting coconuts and was lucky not to fracture his skull. Small tools cause lots of injuries......cuts, concussions, lost fingers and toes. Fences & gates, believe it or not, cause all sorts of lacerations and crush injuries that are extremely prone to infection. Grain and wood piles can suck you down and suffocate you. Silos and manure pits suffocate. Chemicals cause toxicities. Molds, dust, and fungi seriously debilitate. 
(Step on a rake like this once and you'll never sit one down this way again!) 
Then there's heatstroke, frostbite, and exhaustion. Yup, farmer types never seem to know when it's wiser to quit for safety sake. We're driven to get a job done, to reach that day's goal. And with livestock, there's that responsibility factor. Can't quit until they're taken care of. 

Farmers get exposed to things that city folk seldom worry too much about. Killer bees. Swarms of hornets. Disease carrying ticks. Transmissible disease from livestock. Tetanus.  Then there's also the wildlife. Depending upon where's the location, one needs to keep an eye out for bear, cougars, stags, feral pigs, etc. Besides physical attack, rabies is a real concern. 

Proper attire is something new farmers overlook when it comes to avoiding accidents. Farms are no place for jewelry, especially rings of any sort. Many a finger has gotten left behind with the ring still attached. Eyebrow and belly rings leave nasty scars when ripped out. Clothing is all important. Forget bell bottoms and loose sloppy jeans/shorts. Loose fitting shirts and long cuffs are just looking for a place to become an accident. Flopping scarves and jacket hoods are killers. If you like having less than 5 toes on each foot, then go ahead and wear sandals or canvas sneakers. And not only wearing the wrong clothing can get one into trouble, but not wearing enough of the right clothing can get one killed too. Running out to the barn in sub-freezing temperatures just to check on that newborn calf for a minute can be a gigantic mistake without a proper coat/gloves/hat. One slip on frozen ground--a broken pelvis/back and you'll freeze to death before help finds you. It's happened. 

How to prevent accidents besides being cautious:
...take safety courses. Many ag extension offices offer all sorts of farm safety lectures and literature. 
...check out YouTube for safety and medical emergency videos. 
...take emergency medicine courses. Red Cross and other groups offer various courses. Know what to do in an emergency. Gun clubs offer good courses and although they focus on gunshot wounds, the emergency treatment isn't all that different of the injury is caused by a piece of farm equipment. 
...keep several stocked first aid stations around the farm in convenient locations. Having a great first aid kit back at the house won't help much if you crush your hand with the skidsteer way out on the back 40. 
...keep your cellphone/ walkie-talkie in your pocket. 
...try to have a buddy. If working alone, let someone know where you're working and when you expect to be back. I simply text my hubby when I'm about to embark on a mission, then retext him when I'm done. 
...don't overlook the need for safety devices for various jobs : harness, safety rope, ear plugs, gloves, goggles, fire extinguishers, epi-pen, livestock restraints, etc. 
...keep machinery properly maintained. Don't remove safety devices. 
...don't leave tools in a dangerous situation, such as exposed knife blades, exposed rake tines, open gasoline cans, etc. 
...don't be in a hurry. Never work when overtired. Don't work when distracted. Stay hydrated. Pay attention! 
...either ban children from farm work or take the time to thoroughly train them. Farms are especially dangerous to children. Be aware that drowning (in ponds, stock tanks, lagoons, and catchment/cistern tanks) is the number one cause of child farm deaths. 

1 comment:

  1. Amen, sister! Just yesterday, Pat went in for a checkup, and asked for a tetanus booster. Before living on our little farm, we never thought about that until we actually stepped in the rusty nail or cut our finger. Now it's just a wise precaution, given the number of nicks and abrasions we regularly receive. When I know I will be handling roosters, or gathering eggs when certain hens are broody, gloves go on. I have three pairs, conveniently located at several places near work areas. Always use them when I work with the worm bins. And if I don't see Pat for a few hours, I go looking. And we only have one acre!