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There's nothing accidental about farm injury prevention

A lot of big city people really don't get it. As they tool around in rapid transit, Uber or Lyft rides, they fail to understand that agriculture and related industries are one of the biggest contributors to the nation's gross domestic product.

When we talk agriculture we mean more than just farming. Experts also count food manufacturing, forestry, fishing, and restaurants among the related industries. Within farming you have production of both crops and animals. Not surprisingly, processes can involve a lot of power tools, chemicals and heavy machines. Each poses risks of workplace injuries.

In Illinois alone, the state reports that there are nearly 74,000 farms. They represent about three-fourths of all the land in the state. Commodities raised or grown run the gamut from soybeans and corn to ostriches and Christmas trees. That makes for a lot of work and a lot of hazards.

As the spring planting season ramps up, it may be good to remember that there are a lot of safety precautions that can be employed, especially where power tools are concerned. The only thing is, as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration stresses - precautions have to be taken seriously. Here are four to consider.

  • Don't strip safety devices off tools. You might think you will be able to cut production time with fewer barriers. What is more likely is that something else is going to get cut and it probably will have been attached to you.
  • Learn proper handling. It can be easy to rationalize that because you've been around these types of tools all your life you know how to use them safely. Sadly, many don't know what they don't know. Reading the manual and getting trained can help.
  • Wear appropriate attire. There may be a reason Larry the Cable Guy has no shirt sleeves. They might have been ripped off using a power tool. Loose fitting clothes get caught in machinery and if they don't get ripped off, the wearer can get sucked in.
  • If you do it yourself, do it safely. Time is money and you may be able to do most repairs yourself. But if you don't take common sense precautions like turning off engines and using proper hoists, injury could result. Then it's a waste of time, money and there is a human cost.

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