September 17, 2013
Farmers can avoid potential medical injuries by taking safety precautions during the busy season ahead.
Harvesting season is a busy time for farmers and many potential hazards can cause accidents which result in injuries. Dr. Debra Phillips, professor of family and community medicine at SIU School of Medicine, makes some safety recommendations.
“Anytime you are around combines or grain movement, you have particulate matter and it is not good for your lungs, so you should always be wearing a respirator. But this year it will be specifically much more damaging because of the finer particles and the damage that they can do to your lungs.”
Dr. Phillips advises farmers to use caution around harvesting machinery. Avoid getting hands and arms caught in augers and power takeoff shafts. And have fire extinguishers handy to put fires that may be caused by machinery and dry debris from the harvest. She also advises farmers to get cancer screenings.
“Besides the regular ones (screenings) for like colon cancer, they certainly should be getting screened for skin cancer and most definitely they should be screened for prostate cancer. There is an association for pesticide exposure and prostate cancer, so this is one of those tests that you do not put off and you should do it yearly.”Dr. Phillips advises families make sure their children stay safe when doing farm chores. The web site for North American Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks at www.nagcat.org offers safety tips.