-- Robert Preidt
SUNDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- It's still harvest season
across much of the nation, and farmers and other agricultural
workers need to think about safety as they rush to bring their
crops in on time, an expert says.
"We've seen everything from broken bones and amputations to unfortunate traumatic situations," Dr. Howard Schumaker, an emergency medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Sparta, Wis., said in a clinic news release.
"Many times farmers feel that due to the weather, they need to hurry to complete their field work," he said. "It's important to just slow down and make sure farm work gets done safely and efficiently."
Many agricultural injuries can be prevented with basic safety
equipment and remaining aware about the need for caution on the
job, said Schumaker, who outlined several important safety issues
and prevention measures.
Constantly breathing in dust from grain bins, silos, milk vats
and manure pits can cause respiratory problems such as bronchitis
and dangerous heart conditions. You can reduce your risk by wearing
a mask over your nose and mouth.
Vehicles such as tractors and all-terrain vehicles cause many
farm injuries, especially among children. Always wear a seat belt
and helmet. Children should be supervised and given only
age-appropriate tasks and access to vehicles and other farm
equipment, Schumaker said.
One of the most dangerous pieces of farm equipment is a grain
auger, which can cause broken bones, electrocution and amputation
if not handled properly. Livestock are another common cause of
injury. They can bite, kick, ram or trample someone without
warning. Stay attentive and alert when around animals.
Dangerous levels of fatigue can occur when someone works long
days and evenings in the field, and can lead to shortness of
breath, stroke or heart attack. Try to take breaks, eat a healthy
diet and get plenty of sleep, Schumaker recommended.
You can quickly become trapped and suffocate in a grain bin or
gravity wagon, and should enter one only when it's absolutely
necessary. If you must enter, use a body harness and safety line
secured outside the bin, and always have someone watching in case
there is an emergency.
Take steps to prevent falls, another common farm danger that can
result in broken bones, head injuries and other physical trauma.
Use eye protection to shield your eyes from debris whipped up by
The Rural Assistance Center has more about
farm health and safety.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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