As important as it is to have the proper equipment in a farming operation, so is taking the proper measures to ensure health and safety while operating them. This year’s Farm Progress Show on August 29 to 31 in Decatur, Illinois features a health and safety tent coordinated by University of Illinois Extension’s Illinois AgrAbility Unlimited progam. The tent will provide free health screenings, information, and resources on farm safety and overall health.
“Visitors to the tent can read newspaper clippings of recent farm accidents and try to find 20 farm safety hazards on a model farm display,” says Bob Aherin, U of I professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. Aherin is also the Illinois AgrAbility Unlimited program director and Illinois Extension agricultural safety specialist.
According to Aherin, Life Essentials will display a Dodge 3500 pickup equipped with a lift system to transfer a person from the truck driver’s seat to the seat of a combine or tractor and other adaptive equipment.
“The Grain Handling Safety Coalition, of which the University of Illinois Extension is a founding member, will have its grain bin lifeline simulator,” Aherin says. “It’s on a 32-foot trailer demonstrating an easy, low-cost method to establish a lifeline in an existing grain bin to protect workers from grain entrapment while working in a bin.”
The National AgrAbility Project and AgrAbility Unlimited program of Illinois will both be present to promote independence for agricultural workers who have experienced physical limitations due to a disabling injury or illness as a result of an accident, disease, or age-related health problem.
Illinois Assistive Technology Program will provide information and demonstrations of adaptive technology. Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health will present causes, effects, and prevention of whole-body vibration.
Along with safety on the farm, the health and safety tent will emphasize awareness of prevention efforts for diseases and health issues that affect farmers and that potentially might affect a farmer’s ability to continue farming.
Decatur Memorial Hospital exhibitors will offer information about stroke, heart attacks, and sun prevention, and free first aid kits. The Illinois Lions Club will give free hearing tests in their mobile hearing van. The Illinois Division of Chronic Diseases will promote the CDC diabetes risk test and resources on tobacco use and sodium reduction.
The Macon County Health Department will provide general public health information. Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Library and Health Alliance will present information on access to healthcare and other reliable health and wellness resources.
New to the Farm Progress Show’s health and safety tent is the Community Health Partnership of Illinois who will provide information about services for agricultural and migrant workers, including health, dental, and mental health services.
Follow AgrAbility Unlimited of Illinois on Facebook to stay up-to-date on vendors who will provide free resources, health screenings, and farm safety information in the Farm Progress Show’s health and safety tent.
AgrAbility Unlimited of Illinois is a program currently funded primarily by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and contributions from various state agricultural organizations and private sources that promote independence in agriculture for people with disabilities and their families. Illinois is one of 24 states who have competitive grant funding from USDA.