• A Focus on Wellness and Safety

September 09, 2019

When your passion supersedes….

FarmHers are hustling superwomen in every season and most especially, during harvest season.   As caregivers and nurturers, we also assume the role of “the unofficial safety officers of our farms”.   AgriSafe is here to help you and your families farm well by protecting your body and mind. AgriSafe has organized five days of free webinar training to celebrate National Farm Safety and Health week which runs September 15-21, 2019. Click here to find out more and to tune in! National Farm Safety and Health Week has been recognized during the third week of September for seventy-five years, since 1944. 

The 2019 theme is “Shift Farm Safety into High Gear,” which focuses on the importance of safety on the farm as well as America’s rural roadways. The goal of the week is to remind us that it is everyone’s responsibility to prioritize the issues that are faced in the agricultural community. 

As harvest season approaches, farm safety and attention to good health are vital to ensure the well-being of yourself, family and friends. Wyatt is a 32-year-old man who wants others to learn from his experience.   Wyatt states “I have done this task on my farm 1,000 times and I knew better” while explaining a life-changing event resulting in a loss of two fingers, and a broken arm. This narrative is all too familiar as agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries in America and abroad. Every day, about 100 agricultural workers suffer a lost-work-time injury.

Since grade school age, Wyatt helped out on the farm. Once he reached adulthood, he took over the hay baling operations on his generational family farm. The hay baler is an engineering feat and is a large piece of equipment that is not at all easy to operate. However, Wyatt, with his years of experience was a natural at performing this specific farm task. Regular machinery maintenance is vital to ensure good performance and oiling baler chains is part of the maintenance checklist.  This time while oiling chains, Wyatt reached in to remove a small mound of hay near the chains and his gloved hand got caught into the moving parts resulting in an unforgettable event. Fortunately, due to a spring tension sprocket, the chains were able to loosen and he pulled his hand and arm out. Wyatt almost lost his entire arm. 

Now looking back, Wyatt admits fatigue played a part in his lack of judgment.  “My passion to farm is so strong that I didn’t recognize my body’s level of fatigue” explained Wyatt.  Haying season is a long, exhaustive period of time requiring a great deal of physical and mental stamina while working on mother nature’s time clock.  It is important to remember to take frequent breaks, especially during seasons when production is increased.  

His role of a husband and father to three young sons has shifted as he continues to rehabilitate to his new normal of functioning.  The rehabilitation process will be painful and challenging physically and mentally. Once the bandages are removed, Wyatt will have to rethink normal everyday farm tasks to compensate for a weakened and painful arm and loss of fingers. He is preparing mentally.  Yet still, his passion remains as he states “I expect I will be as strong as ever and continue to live to make a great life for this farm and most importantly my family”. 

During National Farm Safety and Health week, September 15-21, 2019, training topics will be presented that relate directly to Wyatt’s story such as Understanding the Tractor Factor.  Additional trainings designed for women include Reducing the Risk of Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes and Perinatal Illness for Female Ag. Producers. Please take time to review these free offerings and share AgriSafe resources with family and friends.

For more information on National Farm Safety and Health week, visit the Agrisafe website.

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