July 23, 2008
Summer's high temperatures and humidity can add an element of danger to farm work, according to Amanda Marney, agriculture preparedness specialist, University of Missouri Extension. Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are real risks for people exposed to excessive heat.
"Heat can cause direct harm if you get so hot your body can't handle it," Marney explains. "It adds to the stress that can be a big contributor to accidents. This is even truer when you can hardly see because of sweat dripping into your eyes."
Marney offers these tips to help keep safe during hot weather:
Think about safety basics. Make sure all tractors have rollover protection. Replace missing shields. Maintain and use lights, flashers and reflectors on machines. Replace slow-moving vehicle signs as needed. Keep machinery in good working order. Know and follow confined-space safety rules. Learn basic first aid, CPR and emergency response.
Drink plenty of water before you feel thirsty. In hot weather that means at least eight large glasses a day, and more if you are really working up a sweat.
Wear cool clothes. Light-colored, loose-fitting clothes made of natural fibers such as cotton will help you stay cool. Socks made of materials such as Polypropylene and Thermex will help your feet stay cool and dry. A wide-brimmed hat can help you stay comfortable in addition to shielding your face and neck from the sun. Also use sunscreen.
Take time to cool off. Splash yourself with water occasionally. Take breaks in the shade.
Plan work around the heat. Think about the heat forecast as well the rain forecast. Avoid strenuous work if it is very hot; save it for a cooler day.
Visit the agriculture preparedness Web site at aes.missouri.edu/swcenter or call Amanda Marney at (417) 669-4362.
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