A blog post about farm safety probably seems pretty elementary, yet each year, there are a staggering number of accidents happening in agricultural settings across the U.S.
In the last couple of months, I have had two family members and a friend end up in the hospital due to farm accidents. Coincidentally, they all started from a cut or puncture wound.
One slipped and fell, cutting her hand on the ice in the farm yard. That cut led to a staph infection, a swollen hand and a round of topical and oral antibiotics.
The second incident happened when a rancher accidentally stabbed his foot with a pitchfork, and despite being up-to-date on his tetanus shot, the laceration became infected and he ended up with an overnight stay in the hospital and an IV drip.
The third accident occurred after a teenage cousin of mine rolled a side-by-side, puncturing his leg with a stick in the ditch. After the wound was doctored and stitched back up, gangrene set in and he spent a week in the hospital for the infection.
Accidents happen when we become complacent. This is dangerous. Our response to accidents can be equally dangerous. A cut, scrape or puncture wound may seem like something that can be shrugged off without much worry, but these can easily become infected and lead to greater problems if ignored.
David W. Smith, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension safety program director, advises families to be diligent about reducing and eliminating potential safety hazards on the farm or ranch. Smith says that barns, in particular, hold many dangers ranging from dust to weak floors to mold in livestock feed.
For avoiding situations like cuts and puncture wounds from farm tools or rusty nails, Smith writes, “Replace old and worn planks in the floor to prevent falls or breakthroughs. Stow away tools such as pitchforks and shovels to avoid cuts and puncture wounds. Don’t leave bailing wire, twine, and fence wire hanging. Shield controls for augers in cattle barns and electrical boxes in humid areas. Repair trap doors and railings. Keep all cleaning and veterinary supplies out of reach of animals and children.”
Read more of Smith’s safety tips here.
Let these farm accidents serve as a reminder to be mindful of cuts, scrapes and puncture wounds and treat them accordingly before they get worse. There are many hazards on a farm or ranch, and even something minor can escalate quickly if not treated properly. Don’t forget to educate young children or visitors of these hazards, as well, and work each day to avoid farm accidents. Be well and stay safe in 2017 everyone!
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.