Five women in New York have been scalped and/or suffered severe facial disfigurement due to their hair becoming entangled in hay balers. An article in this week's edition of the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) recounts the details of four of these incidents and explores probable causes. All four incidents involved a secondary driveline which powers bale throwers on hay balers manufactured by New Holland in the early 1970's. The bale throwers that pose this hazard are Models 54A, 54B, 58, and 62, which were placed on a variety of New Holland hay balers. Although these models are no longer manufactured, an unknown number remain in use. It is essential that all farmers, farm family members, and farm workers be alerted to the hazards of working with this and other farm machinery.
The NIOSH Agriculture Health Initiative is supporting surveillance, research and intervention efforts directed at farmers, farm families, and farm workers nationwide. This particular hazard was identified through the Occupational Health Nurses in Agricultural Communities (OHNAC) program in New York.
NIOSH requests your assistance in alerting farm workers nationwide of the circumstances which resulted in these serious, debilitating and disfiguring injuries.
NIOSH researchers are concerned with the possible hazards associated with farm machinery of any type and manufacture. If you have any information on injuries associated with these balers or entanglement injuries associated with U-shaped guards on other farm equipment, please send to:
A RECOGNIZED HAZARD
In all four cases, the victims did not shut down the machine before dismounting their tractors. Shutting down the machinery is a vital safety practice recommended in the operator's manual for these balers and recommended whenever adjusting any machinery. As these four cases illustrate, the presence of shields alone does not remove all possible hazards. The following injuries resulted from hair becoming entangled in the rotating secondary driveline that powered the bale thrower.
FREQUENCY OF ENTANGLEMENTS
Entanglements involve recognized hazards and can be prevented. The four serious injuries described in the MMWR involved an inadequate U-shaped guard, for which a retrofit has been available for nearly 16 years.
THE NEED FOR SAFETY PRECAUTIONS WHEN USING FARM MACHINERY
Equipment operators must take the following precautions to protect themselves:
Publication #: 93-126
This document is a NIOSH Publication, Publication date: July 1992.
National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Department of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC, 20201. Phone: (800) 356-467
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. More