means paralysis of the lower extremities. The degree of paralysis
may vary the spinal cord was injured. The following is a list
of safety tips that have been shared by farmers affected by
prevent excessive bruising, scraping, or cuts to lower extremities
when mounting or dismounting from a tractor, a man lift
is recommended. In addition, some tractors may require the
installation of an overhead grab-bar to assist in transferring
from the manlift to the tractor seat. The manlift should
be used only by the person with a disability. The manlift
should never be operated while the tractor is in motion.
No one should ride on the manlift while the tractor is in
seat belt or restraining device should be considered when
operating a manlift, especially if you have leg spasms.
controls should be installed in farm machinery to accommodate
the lost function in the lower extremities. Appropriate
standards and guidelines should be used when designing and
fabricating hand controls so that they do not cause further
injury. Controls may need to be padded to prevent bruising
and scraping if you have spasticity. In addition, a belt
around your legs might be considered to prevent contact
with controls when experiencing a spasm.
an outdoor communication device with you to use in case
of emergency. These devices include: FM/business band radio,
cellular phone, and a push-button alarm system.
prevent potential skin breakdown while operating farm machinery,
various wheelchair cushions can be used. Modifications can
also be made to the tractor seat to provided better upper
body stability through the use of ergonomically designed
or custom-made cushions. A seat belt should also be worn
for safety and stability.
fire extinguisher should be available within the cab of
protective structures are recommended on all equipment.
tractors without a cab, special care should be taken to
prevent sunburn and heat stroke during the summer by wearing
a cooling vest, drinking lots of fluids, installing an overhead
canopy, bringing water along, or performing field work during
times in which there is less exposure to heat (ie, early
mornings, evenings, or nighttime).
winter months, warm clothing should be worn to protect against
exposure or frostbite due to decreased circulation. Quilted
material wrapped around lower extremities, leg-warmers,
modified "Snug Sacks", Alaskan mukluks, and other materials
can be used to keep legs and feet warm. Downhill ski shops
are a source for good ideas.
welding, a leather welding apron that covers your legs,
feet, lap, and wheelchair should be used. A custom-made
apron might be needed. Caution should be taken when handling
hot objects. Leather shoes should also be worn.
mobility aids such as all-terrain vehicles should be modified
with control modifications and foot guards to prevent feet
from inadvertently slipping off or getting caught under
the wheels. In addition, special care should be taken to
avoid leg or foot contact with the muffler. Some all-terrain
vehicles have more shock absorption than others which can
help reduce additional injury or degeneration of your back.
Head gear should be worn when operating ATVs.
to avoid direct access with livestock. Restructure these
tasks so that they can be done by another person. Use labor-saving
worksite modifications including fence line feeders, automated
feed systems, automatic gate openers, raised decks, and
livestock holding equipment.
mold, dander from livestock and other respiratory irritants
should be avoided, especially if your spinal cord injury
results in decreased function of diaphragm or lung capacity.
There is a concern that individuals with higher-level spinal
cord injuries and several years of working in livestock
handling facilities could be more susceptible to pneumonia.
labor-saving, technologies such as automatic hitching devices
and bin level indicators should be considered as well as
job restructuring of those tasks that are too difficult
or hazardous to perform.
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.