A new UW Extension publication offers suggestions to ranchers and farmers purchasing and using personal protective equipment.
Every day, 243 agricultural workers in America suffer serious lost-work time injuries, and 5 percent of these injuries result in permanent impairment, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
“In 2010, the injury rate for agricultural workers was 20 percent higher than the rate for all workers,” said Randy Weigel, UW Extension human development specialist. “Many farm and ranch injuries could be prevented or their impacts reduced if they wore proper personal protective equipment (PPE).”
The “Solutions for Living: Personal Protective Equipment for Agriculture” bulletin, B-1233, outlines considerations for purchasing and using PPE. The bulletin can be accessed free at http://bit.ly/SW9JT6.
“In addition, OSHA has set general standards for PPE equipment,” said Weigel. “These standards are applicable to ranchers, farmers and agricultural workers. Finally, in using pesticides, read the label. It provides information on the correct PPE to be used for that specific chemical.”
PPE is designed to protect many parts of the body including eyes, head, face, hands, feet, ears and torso.
Pesticides and liquid chemicals, falling objects, loud machinery and equipment, temperature extremes, welding sparks, electrical hazards, particulates and vapors are some of the primary hazards ranchers and farmers face daily, Weigel said.
PPE does not prevent accidents – but they can prevent or lessen injuries or deaths when used and worn properly, he said.
“Protective equipment must be carefully selected,” said Weigel. “Test fit the protective equipment to be sure of a proper and comfortable fit. If it isn’t comfortable, it won’t be worn; if it isn’t worn, it won’t protect.”