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Leading Causes of Farming Accidents...Experience!
By Glen C Rains, PhD, PE – University of Georgia
When I bring up experience as a cause of farm accidents, most go "oh, those young folks." However, it actually works against those with a lot of experience as well. When looking at injuries and deaths on the farm by age groups, there are two peaks, the young and the old. These are two demographics are very different and have very different reasons for making them at higher risk for farming accidents.
The young are inexperienced and generally higher risk takers. As a general rule I always tell my audience, "do not do anything you are not comfortable doing." This includes operating equipment they are unfamiliar with and operating equipment in hazardous environments, e.g. hilly areas and near ponds. You should get an experienced farmer or dealership to show you how to operate the equipment safely. This is no time for bravado thinking. I would rather ask questions and know what I am doing as opposed to acting tough and well-informed, when actually not knowing what I am doing. Being over confident can sometimes be a recipe for disaster.
Older farmers can become complacent around dangerous equipment. After years of working around the equipment, they stop appreciating just how dangerous it is. The old saying "familiarity breeds contempt" is perfect for this situation. In addition, older farmers have reduced flexibility, reflexes, strength and eyesight. These should be taken into consideration before operating dangerous equipment on the farm.
Finally, if available, always read the manual. You can find many online at AgKits, or go straight to the dealer from which you purchased the machinery. Take note to remember "Safety first, never last, have a future, not just a past."
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