Up Close Lesson in Farm Safety

Husker Home Place

Concerned about safety around farm machinery, last week's accident for me involved lack of hand-eye coordination.

Published on: November 14, 2011

“Haste makes waste.” I harp on my children with this little piece of fatherly advice every day. “Don’t get in a hurry. Take your time and do things right the first time. Accidents happen when you rush.”

Yes, the words buzz around in my mind, but my words of wisdom backfired on me last week when I didn’t heed my own advice.

I’m a bit tardy in my blogging this week because last Tuesday, over noon hour, I had an accident while I was driving in steel posts around a field of cornstalks near our farm, anxious to get my cows out in the field and save on my hay bill.

The cows had been bellowing at me all week long, upset with the forages I had been providing. They too were anxious, wishing they were grazing freely on an inviting field of cornstalks, with lush, green bromegrass borders.

With the wonderful, warm fall weather we’ve been experiencing here, I hurriedly pounded posts along our driveway. For a split second, as I was driving a post in the hard ground, I turned away from my job to watch a truck pass on the highway. As I turned, the post driver slipped off the post and my hand slipped off the driver and landed on the top of the post as the driver came down with force from my left hand.

The collision between the driver, my right hand and the post caused a substantial gash into my thumb and a deep slice across three of my four fingers. Immediately, I knew what had happened. Because I am right handed, this incident was a cause for alarm. With nothing but greasy rags in my pickup to bandage myself, I held my hand in the air and drove my pickup with a manual transmission (which was a bit challenging) to the clinic in town.

I wrapped up my hand in my coat as I walked into the clinic, because I didn’t want to freak anyone out who might have been sitting in the waiting room area. Our local physicians assistant rushed me back to a room where she and our hometown nurse washed the wound and stitched up my injured hand.

Having written about tons of close calls in my career as a farmer in this space before (see Close Calls), I have mostly been worried about safety around big machines and moving parts. I have to say that I am a bit humbled and somewhat humiliated that this latest farm accident for me had nothing to do with machines. It was my fault. My hurried actions, lack of hand-eye coordination and perhaps concentration on the job at hand caused this latest incident.

So, I’m amending my advice to the kids. “Pay attention to what you are doing,” is my new adage. If only I can take my own advice to heart.

If you’d like, share your best farm safety advice with our readers. No need to register, just add your comments.