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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 11, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta uecemow inc Lcinoniuuc ncnm.u By DAVID B. Herald Staff Writer Life on a farm has often been described as pastoral and but a Lethbridge coroner paints a grim pic- ture of the agriculture in- dustry. farm is the most dangerous factory there says Dr. John E. who has been looking into accidental deaths in the Lethbridge area for more than 20 years. introduction to Canadian medicine was an accident where a kid put his foot in the reduction gears of a manure' said Dr. who came from England. were lit- tle bones all over the year in this dis- three or four children drown in the cor- oner said. year several people lose arms and legs in power and are often fatally in- has to be done in the area of farm Another way people die in farms is by drowning in grain. least three people have suffocated in grain since I've been on this Dr. Morgan said. The coroner is mainly concerned about accidents around farm machinery. Contempt enevitably breeds he said. this leads to carelessness and shortcuts. I say eternal vigilance is the price of a Art senior acci- dent prevention officer for the Workmen's Compensa- tion Board in does not agree that farm- ing is the most dangerous but admits that a farmer faces as many or more mechanical hazards as any other industrial worker. it's the human ele- ment that causes nine- tenths of the Mr. Baldry said. Farm workers are the only workers not protected by the Workmen's Compen- sation Act in Alberta. had many cases of workers coming in here with their hands in they should Mr. Baldry said. can only tell them the compensation board has no authority over farm Even though Mr. Baldry is not officially involved in farm he says he is is a crying need for concentrated work in this he said. would include periodic inspections of Mr. Baldry which in turn could help prevent accidents. will come about some he said. wouldn't venture to guess seems to me that because of their independent don't welcome government super he said. I guess I can't blame them. They operate on a slim margin of It is this slim profit margin that often motivates a farmer to take shortcuts which lead to ac- says Dr. Morgan. Both he and Mr. Baldry stated that controls and safeguards on machines would not solve the problem of farm deaths. The answer lies in a change of attitude. one under the age of 16 can legally operate a motor said Dr. Morgan. kids of 11 and 12 have been known to drive tractors of far greater complexity and Unstable A he is inherently unstable with its little wheel-big wheel con- figuration. Yet tractors do not normally have roll bars. cars have roll he do many modern cars. All RCMP vehicles now have built-in roll Crushed rib cages skull fractures are characteristic of the in- juries of those who have been caught under over- turned tractors. Minor in- juries and tipped over trac- tors are not usually consis- tent with each other. Reinhold a Coaldale believes tractors should be built so roll bars can be installed. And he plans to install roll bars on his tractors. Mr. Ebner was packing silage with a tractor last year when it flipped over pinning him un- derneath. His injuries were fairly light a cracked one arm broken and another severely and a lot of skin scraped off. happen when a guy does things with a tractor that he shouldn't be he said. know I was. Accidents don't just happen they're caused. I knew how easy it is to tip a tractor over but I went ahead and drove it up that silage Entangled Another cause of farm deaths is clothing becom- ing entangled in power takeoffs. A power takeoff is a shaft powered by the drive train to which equip- ment is connected. Unless properly the power takeoff presents a whirling shaft which and entangle a worker in the machinery. One area resident told of finding his father after he had become caught in a power takeoff. ripped his clothes completely he said. managed to crawl about ten feet through the gravel before he died. He had a broken crushed ribs and a fractured and his lungs had been The man had been rolling grain on the family farm. The 'grain crusher was running off the power takeoff of a tractor. Instead of the proper the man had anchored the power takeoff shaft with a piece of number nine wire. The wire had snagged the corner of the man's denim jacket. was dark in the shed where he was the son said. his eyes were bad anyway. And he was tired. I know he was A medical officer of the Barons-Eureka Health Unit who treats'a lot of farm injuries in his private practice blames fatigue for many accidents. Near dusk accidents tend to occur toward or at the e'nd of the just before the noon the doctor said. fatigue and sheer tiredness contribute to impaired The doctor has another theory about farm ac- cidents. Sub-clinical intox- ication from carbon he is results in a benumbing of the brain and a slow reac- tion time. exhaust stack on the tractor is in front of the he said. the fumes are blown up and away from the operator. But if the tractor is heading into the the operator has a certain amount of the ex- haust blown toward him. If he is moving with the the fumes and dust tend to drift with the with the driver taking in carbon monoxide all the This sub-clinical intox- said the is not but results in drowsiness and a general dopey feeling. It's not full-blown he said. if a person is a doc- tor will be attending to the trying to save a and he won't be taking blood samples to detect the level of carbon Carbon monoxide is an insidious he and does not result in outward symptoms that are easily diagnosed. Another farming skipping is also dangerous for a peron working around machin- the medical officer said. farmer will often go out to work without or just a cup of and he will work until midday. This can result in a drop in blood and the result is mental confusion and lack of the doctor said. Susceptible just think what a person is doing to himself when he misses a works himself into the ground and exposes himself to possible carbon monoxide he said. combination of Continued on Page 4 ;