The principal causes of ill health were associated with manual handling, lung problems, infections and noise. Of farmers with occupational ill health, 50% suffer from chronic back pain. Regarding personal health, farmers have been identified as a group with a poor personal health profile (O’Shea, 1997). Male farmers between the ages of 15 and 64 have a death rate much higher than that of most other workers.
- Avoid slips and trips by keeping the farmyard and farm buildings tidy at all times. Provide adequate lighting in the farmyard and buildings
- Dampen down dust with water where possible, before sweeping up
- Always cover cuts and abrasions with a waterproof plaster or dressing to avoid infection
- Put a vermin control programme in place on your farm.
- Provide suitable washing and toilet facilities on your farm
- Protect your skin from the sun by minimising exposure around midday, wearing long- sleeved shirts and hats, and applying sun creams. Wear a hat and light clothing in sunny weather to avoid sun burn. Apply a high factor sunscreen to the skin particularly if you are working outdoors
- Have a regular health check to monitor your general health and physical well-being
- Regular checks can identify and start appropriate treatments for health issues early
- Discuss your concerns with a close friend, family member or health professional. If stressed or anxious always seek help through your family or G.P.
- It is important to recognise signs of stress and seek professional help
- Give your health adequate attention
- Avoid exposure to spores by keeping buildings well ventilated
- An effective way to reduce the level of dust or spores is to damp down the source
- An added precaution is to wear a suitable mask, to the European Standard
A range of serious illnesses can be caught from animals and contaminated materials. There are over 20 such diseases in this country, including brucellosis, tuberculosis, tetanus, Weil's disease and toxoplasmosis.
- If it is necessary to communicate by shouting at another person at a distance of two metres, the noise level is likely to be above the legal action level of 85 decibels (dB (A)).
- The best way to solve a noise problem is to identify the source and reduce either the noise level or exposure time as much as possible
- Purchase equipment with low noise levels
- Keep tractor doors shut and maintain silencers on equipment such as tractors or chainsaws
- Isolate or enclose equipment with noise above 85 decibels
- Use mechanical or automatic feeding systems to reduce the need to enter pig or poultry houses during feeding
- Move away from the noise source
- Ear defenders must be worn if the noise level remains above 80 decibels