As a person who works in agriculture, you understand that farming isn’t just a job – it’s a lifestyle. Even though it may be something you love to do, that does not mean it comes without risks. The CDC reported that more than 11,000 agricultural workers sustained injuries in 2020 in the United States.
The long hours, the seasonal work and the use of heavy machinery present an array of challenges that can lead to a variety of health and safety risks, and you should know what risks you face, so you can keep yourself safe.
You exert a great deal of physical force while working in the fields. This persistent, hard labor often leads to musculoskeletal injuries, which affect your muscles, joints and tendons. Lifting heavy objects, operating machinery and even repetitive actions like bending or twisting can cause these types of injuries. To prevent such injuries, you must make sure to use proper lifting techniques, alternate between physically demanding and lighter tasks and take regular breaks to allow your body to recover.
Consistent exposure to the noise of heavy machinery and equipment can lead to noise-induced hearing loss. You might not notice the gradual change in your hearing abilities until it’s too late. Protect your hearing by wearing earplugs or noise-canceling headphones when operating loud machinery.
Agriculture exposes you to various organic dusts from crops, chemicals and animal wastes, which can various respiratory diseases like farmer’s lung, asthma and chronic bronchitis. Wearing protective masks can help you avoid inhaling harmful substances.
As an agricultural worker, you often come into contact with various chemicals, plants and sunlight while working, leading to a range of skin conditions. You might experience allergic reactions, sunburns or skin cancer. Protect your skin by wearing appropriate protective clothing and applying sunscreen regularly.
Tractor and machinery accidents
Farm work goes hand in hand with heavy machinery and equipment, including tractors. Accidents involving these machines can lead to serious injuries or even death. Make sure to receive proper training on how to operate each piece of equipment safely. Always use safety belts and avoid working alone whenever possible.
Staying safe in an agricultural setting requires awareness, planning and the use of protective measures. Remember, your health and safety should always be your priority. Knowing how to protect yourself can lessen your chance of injury, ensuring you can continue the hard work that feeds nations.