Pacemakers today are designed to interrupt lives as little as possible. Farmers returning to work with a pacemaker can raise some concerns. Minimal restrictions are required in the work place, but several modifications may be necessary to the way tasks are performed.
Universal Design is a worldwide movement promoting design concepts and principles to support an expanding demographic of people living with a wide array of disabilities, age-related limitations, and chronic health conditions. Universal Design is the creation of products and environments meant to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without need for adaptation or specialization. The primary focus of Universal Design has revolved around elements of the home and development of user-friendly products.
People with a pre-existing condition, such as limited mobility, heart disease, and taking certain medications can be at higher risk to a heat stress injury. The most serious are heat stroke and heat exhaustion. With or without a pre-existing condition, heat stroke and exhaustion are both serious medical emergencies and action should be taken immediately.
Older farmers remain active on the farm for several reasons including good health, desire to remain active, financial, or enjoyment of life on the farm. The average age of farmers in Ohio is 56 years. However, farming is traditionally a labor-intensive profession that involves physically demanding work. For older farmers, this can present problems in the form of health or safety issues. Many farmers as they age may not be aware of changes in their sensory systems because these changes are usually gradual. Some considerations include:
Ergonomics is the science of designing the job, equipment, and workplace to fit the worker, while maintaining the efficiency of people in the workplace. The use of ergonomics keeps workers safe, comfortable, and productive. Improving work posture, reduced force, and less repetition prevents injuries. Due to the labor-intensive nature of farming, ergonomics can be of great value in reducing the risk of injuries. Remember that old habits do die hard and many farming practices have been passed down from generation to generation.
Approximately 25 percent of all work place injuries in Ohio result from overexertion caused by lifting, pulling, or pushing objects. Overexertion is spraining a ligament or straining a tendon or a muscle and occurs when the amount of work attempted exceeds the limits of the body parts doing the work. People with a preexisting condition, limited mobility, or aging limitations are more prone to overexertion injuries. In some cases individuals will overuse one body part to compensate for the limitation of another body part.
In agriculture, farmers are always carrying objects from one location to another. The objects may range from a bag of seed corn to the planter, parts to a piece of equipment, buckets of feed to livestock, or to bales of hay. Individuals engaged in farming with a disability or physical limitation should take preventive measures to protect their backs. Approximately 25 percent of Ohio work related injuries are from overexertion when lifting.
Agriculture is a labor-intensive occupation that involves a hands-on approach to every work day. Safety precautions need to be considered when working around farm equipment or livestock. If precautions are not taken seriously, it is easy to be caught-in, caught-between, or struck by objects, leading to serious injuries. People with limited mobility, lack of range of motion, or diminished reaction time are at higher risk.
Several types of walking and working surfaces are on farms and farmers may encounter some or even all of them throughout the workday. Farmers with a disability or mobility limitation can have an increased risk of injury from a trip, slip, or fall because of the variety of surfaces they encounter on a regular basis. Individuals facing mobility issues or a diminished sense of balance are at greatest risk of injury when transferring from one surface to the next.
Manure is one of the most commonly digested materials to produce energy (EPA AgStar). (See Table 1.) The most desirable product of anaerobic digestion is biogas, which can be used for heating, lighting, electricity generation, and cooking. Biogas generally contains 60–70% methane and 30–40% carbon dioxide (Beck). The energy content of biogas with 60% methane content is about 600 Btu/ft3 compared to natural gas at 1,000 Btu/ft3 (Balsam). The effluent slurry from a biogas digester is another key by-product of anaerobic digestion.