Illinois farmers know that, as the fall weather turns colder, harvest time is upon us. Since farming is such an integral part of this state’s culture, it is an industry that affects all Illinoisans.
Our Illinois personal injury lawyers understand the importance of farm- and farm equipment-safety. There are a number of ways to stay protected from potential dangers that are natural consequences of large-scale farming equipment. Inspired by a recent article by MSNBC, our attorneys urge farmers, agricultural workers, and civilians to think about safety as farmers rush to bring their crops in on time
Many times farmers feel that due to the quickly-changing weather, they need to hurry to complete their field work, but it is important to slow down and make sure farm work gets done safely as well as efficiently. Many agricultural injuries can be prevented with basic safety equipment and remaining aware about the need for caution on the job
Be alert to the presence of slow moving farm machinery on roads and exercise caution when using large machinery. According to Bloomington Illinois’ Pantagraph newspaper, a car going 55 mph approaching a tractor in the same lane, going the same direction, at 15 mph will close a gap equivalent to a football field in just 5 seconds. If you’re not aware of these vehicles, it may be difficult to stop in time.
Also, remember that during harvest time, farmers may be working longer hours than usual, and may not be as alert as they ought to be. Be cautious when approaching, following, or passing farm vehicles on the road.
When operating farming machinery, always wear a seat belt and helmet. Children should be supervised and given only age-appropriate tasks and access to vehicles and other farm equipment, advised MSNBC.
Be especially careful when approaching grain bins. According to the International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health, every year an average of 88,000 agricultural workers are injured and 551 are killed. Of those injuries and deaths, Illinois had the highest rate of accidents associated with grain bins.
Agricultural workers can quickly become trapped and suffocate in a grain bin, and should enter one only when it’s absolutely necessary. If a worker must enter, he or she is advised to use a body harness and safety lines secured outside the bin, and always have someone watching in case there is an emergency.
Clean silos often, and with acoustic cleaners. When silos are allowed to collect dust or fine particles in the air, a spark can trigger an explosion inside the silo. The blast will be powerful and potentially deadly, and will likely set both the grain and the building on fire. There are a number of methods of cleaning the inside of silos, but acoustic cleaning is by far the safest. During an acoustic cleaning, a series of quick and powerful sounds will cause the particles inside the silo to move at differing speeds based on their size and density. As a result, the particles detach from one another, and fall down as a result of gravity. This system replaced other approaches, some of which sent workers down into the silo to manually clean the inside.
Additionally, Constantly breathing in dust from grain bins, silos, milk vats and manure pits can cause respiratory problems such as bronchitis and dangerous heart conditions. You can reduce your risk by wearing a mask over your nose and mouth, said MSNBC.
Be aware of non-obvious farm-related hazards. Livestock are another common cause of injury. They can bite, kick, ram or trample someone without warning. Stay attentive and alert when around animals.
Additionally, dangerous levels of fatigue can occur when someone works long days and evenings in the field, and can lead to shortness of breath, stroke or heart attack.
Finally, take steps to prevent falls, head injuries and other physical trauma, and use eye protection to shield your eyes from debris whipped up by farm machinery.
Our Illinois injury lawyers know that the best possible outcome is to avoid a hazard altogether, before it causes injury. However, tragically accidents can and do occur. Our Chicago personal injury attorneys understand the laws involved and have the diligence to fight for your rights. If you or a loved one have suffered a farm-related injury, an attorney may be able to advise you of your rights under the law.