The agriculture industry has more than it’s fair share of strong, resilient and hard-working men and women. However this does not make farm workers immune from work related illness or injury. The good news is that many incidents can be avoided with some awareness of potential dangers and possible issues that may arise.
Therefore it is well worth spending a few minutes reading the information below which may help you avoid future harm on the farm.
- If you have livestock on your property then this is obviously a potential danger, especially with larger animals such as cattle, horses or pigs. Because the actions of many animals can be very hard to predict, it is best if you make sure all possibilities are covered. Using the right equipment such as well designed cattle crushes or cattle crates can greatly reduce your chance of being injured or even killed. It is also a good idea to talk to people who have a lot of experience in livestock handling wherever possible to gain advice. The information many of the older generation possess can often be invaluable.
- Avoid continuous long hours and overworking. It is obviously easier said than done when there are countless jobs to be done around the farm. However if you can then make sure you are getting regular rest and relaxation time. While it may be tempting to burn the candle at both ends now, it can often lead to worse long-term results due to significant future downtime due to illness. Overwork, continual stress and lack of sleep can also lead to health problems such as obesity and even heart attack or stroke which could potentially be fatal.
- Ensure that you have appropriate training for the machinery or equipment you are required to use to complete your job. Modern farming machinery has certainly been a blessing of immeasurable proportions. It has brought us an abundance of food while drastically reducing the injuries and deaths that farming once produced. However it still does need to be used with caution. Undertaking any available training that is available for the machinery or equipment will ensure that you are able to operate it as safely and efficiently as possbile. Spending some intial time familiarising yourself with the equipment will pay off in the long-term by allowing you to better operate it and gain the most out of it while maximising your safety. If the machinery does happen to break down then make sure it is repaired by someone who knows the machine and is qualified to maintain it.
- Don’t ignore the signs your body is trying to make you aware of. If you are experiencing ongoing pain or fatigue then ensure you get it checked out by a GP or medical professional. Ignoring it will more often than not mean greater problems down the track which will lead to downtime and the possibility of ongoing future issues. If it is indeed nothing to worry about then a short GP visit will confirm this and provide you with peace of mind.
- Australia is hot which means the sun is a very real danger for those who work outdoors. Make sure you keep water on hand so as to keep hydrated throughout the day. Also ensure that you apply good quality sunscreen, wear a wide-brimmed hat and wear clothing that can protect your skin from the sun. It is all too easy to become dehydrated, get sunburnt or even develop skin cancer if you do not take appropriate care when working in the sun on a constant basis.
- Ensure your tetanus vaccine injection is up-to-date. People who work on the land are especially vulnerable to tetanus due to their constant contact with livestock, manure, soil and other possible causes. It is also very easy to break your skin when working on physical activities such as fencing. Therefore confirming with your GP that your tetanus schedule is current really is a must.
- Dust inhalation is an ever-present danger on many farming properties and it can often be overlooked. Using a mask with appropriate filters is a good way to protect your lungs from dust created by hay, grain, animal manure or other sources.
While being tough work, many do find farming an enjoyable and rewarding profession. Keeping the above points in mind will help keep you healthy while doing what you love.