Health of Farmers
The principle causes of farmer's ill health are associated with manual handling, lung problems, infections and noise. Of farmers with occupational ill health, 50% suffer from chronic back pain.
To maintain good health the following should be followed:
- Reduce lifting: where possible avoid manual handling of loads. Use mechanical aids to reduce all manual handling.
- Assess load: size up the job: if it is too heavy get help or a mechanical method of lifting.
- Safe lifting: when lifting bend your knees not your back.
- Slips/trips: avoid slips and trips by keeping the farmyard and farm buildings tidy at all times. Provide adequate lighting in the farmyard and buildings.
- Wet down dust: dampen down dust with water where possible before sweeping up.
- Cover cuts: always cover cuts and abrasions with a waterproof plaster or dressing to avoid infection.
- Control vermin: put a vermin control programme in place on your farm.
- WC and washing: provide suitable washing and toilet facilities on your farm.
- Reduce noise: use earmuffs or ear plugs in noisy areas.
- Sun protection: sun protection is essential for all working in agriculture.
- Health check: visit the G.P. regularly to monitor your general health and physical well-being.
- If you are suffering from stress or anxiety seek help through your family or G.P.
Farm & Rural Stress Helpline - 1800 742 645 This is a free-phone helpline operated by Console, that is open 24/7, targeted specifically at farmers and people who live in rural areas. This helpline is aimed at people who may be feeling down, suffering from stress or depression or those who are concerned about someone.
Samaritans - 1850 60 90 90 Samaritans provides 24 hour emotional support to anyone experiencing distress, despair or suicidal thoughts.
Aware - 1890 303 302 Aware is a voluntary group which provides support for those suffering with depression and their families.
Suicide Prevention Helpline - 1800 742 745 This is a free-phone helpline open from 6.00pm to 10.00pm for people who are feeling suicidal or equally for a family member or friend who is concerned about someone.
Mental Health Ireland - 01 284 1166
Be mindful of the physically capablities of older farmers.