and foot problems include: limitations that have resulted
in decreased strength or function due to toe or foot amputations;
below-knee or above-knee amputations; or tendon, muscle, nerve,
or joint damage. The following is a list of safety tips that
have been provided by farmers with lower extremity impairments:
prevent falls, increased fatigue or further degeneration,
outdoor mobility aids should be considered when maneuvering
around rough rural terrain. These aids include: manual,
electric, electric/gasoline-powered wheelchairs, all-terrain
vehicles, golf carts, and riding lawn mowers. Foot guards
and modifications to controls for all-terrain vehicles and
lawn mowers should be considered if you lack sensation and/or
control in your legs or feet. Head gear should be worn when
cane tips for snow, ice, and loose gravel should be considered.
mounting and dismounting from a tractor, you should start
out with your stronger leg.
accommodate lost abilities in mounting and dismounting,
farm machinery can be adapted by adding a manlift, non-slip
steps, wider steps, additional steps, and hand-holds.
accommodate for lost strength or function of your leg or
foot when operating foot controls on a tractor, you can
adapt controls by constructing hand controls.
access to livestock should be avoided if possible (or approached
with extreme caution) due to the unpredictable nature of
livestock. Worksite accommodations to eliminate direct access
include: fence line feeders; automated feed systems; using
round bales; raised decks for hogs; or having another person
perform the potentially dangerous tasks.
you use a prosthetic device, jumping off a tractor is not
recommended. You might break the prosthesis, re-injure yourself
or suffer an additional injury to your legs or feet.
devices such as automatic gate openers and automatic hitching
devices will help in reducing further degeneration of impaired
to tractor seats such as better cushions or installation
of an independent suspension seat might be considered for
an above-knee amputation or hip replacement to help provide
more protection and shock absorption for the stump or hip
you have a hip replacement, tasks that require bending 90
degrees or more from the hip should be avoided. An all-terrain
vehicle with a bench seat may be more appropriate than one
that requires you to swing your leg over the top of the
engine when mounting or dismounting.
through fields with weeds and knee-high vegetation can lead
to potential falls or entanglements that could cause twisting
of a joint. When walking out to the field to check on crops,
it is recommended to follow the wheel tread marks that have
been made by farm equipment or create a smoother path for
climbing over fences or walking on very unstable ground,
it is sometimes recommended to lock the knee on a prosthesis
to provide better stability.
improvements have been made to lower-extremity prosthetic
devices to enhance comfort, reduce skin breakdown, save
energy, and improve safety. These improvements include a
"NSNA" (Normal Shape, Normal Alignment) socket for above-knee
amputees; Flex-foot (an energy storing prosthesis); and
a hydraulic knee. Consult a prosthetist to determine if
any of these technologies would be appropriate.
reduce fatigue or further degeneration of an affected extremity
when performing tasks that require standing for long periods
of time, a sit-stand chair or stool might be useful to relieve
pressure without interfering with completing a task.
adaptations or modifications intended for use by an individual
with a disability should be used by that individual only.
Use of a modification or adaptation by another individual
could result in an injury.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
more information on general farm safety, contact Iowa State
University's Cooperative Extension Office
information shared is based on data gathered by the Easter
Seal Society of Iowa's Farm Family Rehabilitation Management
(FaRM) Program through financial support from the Injury Prevention
Research Center at the University of Iowa Grant #R49\CCR703640-02
funded by the Center for Disease Control. No scientific research
has been conducted to determine if the above tips or suggestions
are safe or effective. The information shared is simply ideas
shared by farmers affected by disabilities of the staff at
the FaRM Program. For more information or clarification contact
the FaRM Program at (515) 289-1933 or submit comments or questions
to P. 0. Box 4002, Des Moines, Iowa, 50333.
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in
NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in
NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder.