The terrible price we pay for cutting corners
Published 16/09/2015 | 02:30
Farmers are notorious for ignoring issues relating to their general physical wellbeing.
There might have been some excuse for this forty or fifty years ago when most of us were ignorant of basic health care and enthusiastically wrecked our backs lifting heavy bags of wheat or fertiliser and regularly wrestling with unruly livestock. I think we secretly saw this as some form of macho showing off but many of us are now paying the price for our carelessness.
It used to be thought that you weren't "manly" if you couldn't compete in shows of strength, whether it was loading sacks of corn, pitching bales or worse, lifting huge rocks just to demonstrate our muscle power. This was of course a demonstration of sheer idiocy but then we paid the price for our behaviour in later life with aching backs, torn muscles and severed tendons.
Apart from the necessity of having appropriate training for strenuous farm tasks and for operating machinery, there are serious insurance issues if we ignore the current health and safety regulations.
From having scorned them in my early days, I am now aware of the absolute importance of following them to the letter.
I can even recall ridiculing the regulations regarding chainsaw use and would frequently cut timber without any protective gear, alone and without anyone even within earshot.
I only fully realised the folly of this after a neighbour died tragically when a fallen tree he was cutting slipped and crushed him. Around that time I also received a gash in my leg when cutting side branches off a tree trunk.