It's hard to imagine life without the benefits of powerful farm equipment, but farm implements also pose dangers to the people who use them. Each year in the United States, farming is ranked as one of the most dangerous professions with over 700 deaths annually. The National Safety Council states that 30% of all farming accidents involve the upper extremity.
Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center offers the following safety guidelines with the hope of preventing you, your family members or employees from becoming part of these statistics.
Farm Equipment Safety
- Know the proper use, and limitations of your equipment. If you do not have instructions, contact the manufacturer.
- Match tractors with equipment of same power and speed levels to prevent machine failure and possible serious injury.
- Use heavy-duty equipment for heavy-duty jobs.
- Do not modify or remove safety features such as kill switches, roll bars or control bars. Utilize safety features and heed the manufacturer's warnings!
- Use runners and chain guards on mowers.
- Keep power transmission shafts covered and shield power takeoff shafts properly.
- Disengage or unplug all power takeoffs, blades, cutterbars, crimper rolls or other moving parts before handling equipment.
- Do not use hands to clear jammed equipment.
- Keep hands and feet clear of moving parts.
- Inspect controls and parts for loose nuts and bolts before each use.
General Farm Safety
- Avoid working alone. Use "the buddy system." Your buddy should know safe usage of equipment and will be able to get help immediately in case of an accident.
- NEVER allow children to operate equipment, ride double or play or work nearby. Children may be hit by flying debris or dragged into moving parts. They are not strong or knowledgeable enough to handle equipment properly.
- Avoid loose or baggy clothing - clothing can be dragged into machinery.
- Be vigilant of area and terrain. Stumps, rocks, and hidden debris can cause overturns, and low tree limbs can knock an operator off a tractor.
- Inspect banks and slopes for stability. On steep slopes, plan path of travel downhill. Never take shortcuts!
- Report any skin conditions to your physician. Farm soil contains many pathogens conducive to serious infection. Use chemical-resistant work gloves to prevent burns and infection.
To learn more about the Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center, please contact 502-587-4799. For additional information on hand care emergencies, call 502-540-3727.