This week is the Farm Safety Foundation’s Farm Safety Week. Hand surgeons see a range of patients who have injured their hands on farms, where close work with machinery and equipment increase the risk of accidents.
Common injuries are usually caused by everyday tasks that farmers have done so many times before that they risk becoming complacent or losing concentration.
Resulting injuries can range from minor cuts caused by barbed wire, to fractures from heavier animals that startle in confined spaces.
Being careful can reduce the likelihood of accidents but can’t stop them from happening entirely.
To avoid injuries like these, here are some top tips to keep your hands safe on the farm:
If the injury has gone all the way through the skin, go to hospital, where they will likely give you an injection of tetanus immunoglobulin for additional protection (all farmyard wounds are more likely to be contaminated by bacteria).
The wound will also need washing out and a course of antibiotics to prevent other bacteria spreading.
Ask to be referred to a hand surgeon if there is any concern that the injury affects the deep structures in your hand (tendon, nerves and bones). You can discuss with your surgeon the best way to manage your injury and how long your hand function will likely be affected
Twenty per cent of visits to A&E departments in England are currently for hand trauma and hand injuries predominantly affect the young working population.
They can be a major source of disability and cause significant cost through time off work on top of the direct medical costs.
Where possible, it is important to prevent accidents, but when they do happen, it is vital that you take immediate action to get the appropriate medical care. Hand safety isn’t just for Farm Safety Week but all year round.