Hazards on modern farms are numerous and wide ranging

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
Many other hazardous farm activities cause frequent accidents other than those named above.

Perhaps the most heart-rending of these, as outlined in materials provided by Kansas State University and Kansas Farm Bureau, are those involving children-the kids who grow up on farms loving animals, haylofts, ponds and wide-open spaces.

Of the 217 Kansas farm fatalities in a 10-year period, 26 were children 15 years old and under. Tractors were listed as the chief killers, mostly in incidents where farm parents and grandparents took children along as passengers.

Drowning and suffocation were also top child killers.

Recommendations to prevent child deaths included fencing, or restricting access to ponds, manure pits and stock tanks.

Remove bottom rungs from silo ladders or install flip-top shields to stop access by children, lower hydraulic equipment to the ground and take keys with you, don’t lean heavy objects against buildings, lock up pesticides and chemicals, and keep children out of the path of particularly dangerous operations such as grain loading and unloading.

Suffocation of farmers by being buried in stored grain was a leading cause of accidental death.

This especially happened when grain was stored moist, and stored for a length of time, causing it to “bridge” in top-layer dry hard-pack with settled pockets underneath. It becomes a trap for a farmer to fall through when stomping to break it, or walking on it.

Electrocution was listed as the second-leading killer after tractor accidents-usually when attempting electrical repairs, coming into contact with power lines with equipment, laying cords or wire across the ground to equipment instead of “hard wiring,” failing to comply with electrical codes in farm buildings, using inadequately grounded or insulated tools, and using lightweight, cheap cords instead of industrial-strength cords.

Handling big bales has become a leading hazard, usually due to turning of the tractor at too high a speed, using equipment not designed for the job, operating on rough ground, or using a loader without an adequate restraining device to keep a bale from coming back on the driver when raised high.

Possible health hazards on the farm included skin cancer from sun exposure, dust and mold induced respiratory problems, hearing problems from noise, bone and muscle injuries, transmission of disease from animals.

Pesticide exposure could induce skin inflamation, blistering, ulceration, breathing difficulty, allergic or toxic responses, or, in long-term exposure, diseases such as cancer.

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