Agriculture is an important part of our daily lives and provides sustenance to billions across the globe. However, the industry itself is not without its challenges, and one concern is the agricultural injuries. Injuries can not only affect the farmer’s health and safety, but can also greatly impact their livelihoods. As agricultural experts and innovators look for ways to help prevent and treat agricultural injuries effectively, new technologies are emerging. This article explores the various types of agricultural injuries, their impact and the innovative medical devices that are supporting farmers.
Hazards of the Agricultural Industry
Agricultural injuries can cover a wide range of incidents, from falls and machinery accidents to exposure to harmful chemicals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the agriculture sector has one of the highest rates of fatal occupational injuries. Tractor or other machinery accidents, falls and trips, and exposure to pesticides are among the leading causes of these injuries.
Even minor injuries can greatly impact the farm, as workers may have to take time away to recover. One study showed that about each day in the U.S, an estimated 100 agricultural workers experience an injury that causes them to miss work. This time away can affect the livelihood of the workers and the farm as a whole. In order to help mitigate these effects and help prevent and treat these injuries, agricultural innovators are looking to technology for help.
Innovations for Prevention and Treatment
The best way to treat an injury is to prevent it from happening in the first place. One way technology is helping to prevent injuries on the farm is through advanced safety features in agricultural machinery. Smart sensors, GPS and other artificial intelligence can be used to detect potential hazards, automatically shut down machinery, or alert the operator of problems. Blockchain technology and tools like the Internet of Things can help farmers share safety information with one another. Automation can help prevent injuries caused by strain, as well as help to increase the efficiency of a farm.
Pesticide exposure is a concern in agriculture, which can pose long-term health risks to farmers. Medical device innovations are helping to mitigate these risks, with personal protective equipment (PPE) using materials that provide better protection against harmful chemicals. Technology like precision farming, which allows a farmer to treat crops more precisely, can help reduce the need for pesticides and therefore promote the health of the farmer.
The advancement of telehealth has proven to be beneficial in the treatment of injuries, especially for farmers in more remote areas. By being able to video call with a health professional at the first sign of injury, farmers can receive counsel about how to proceed with home care, or learn if an in-person visit is needed. Wearable medical devices can also help to monitor basic health information, and let the farmer know when a break may be needed.
Technology is improving the agricultural industry in many ways, including in the field of health and safety. From helping to prevent machinery-related incidents to allowing for virtual access to a health professional, these advancements are helping to improve the well-being of farmers. As agricultural experts and innovators work together to address these issues, we can strive toward a future where agriculture is not only sustainable but also safe and supportive of the health and livelihoods of farmers across the globe.