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Released: January 07, 2004

Safety Specialist Gives Tips to Prevent Winter Falls

MANHATTAN, Kan. Falls are the most common accident in agriculture - accounting for as many as one-third of all farm injuries, according to John Slocombe, Extension safety specialist at Kansas State University.

Falls happen quickly and unexpectedly. For older farmers, falls are especially troublesome, Slocombe said. Safety experts estimate that one in three Americans over the age of 65 suffer a fall each year and the risk of falls increases with age. Many of these falls result in serious injury.

Winter signals the beginning of a particularly hazardous time for falls on the farm. To help minimize the risks, Slocombe, who heads the K-State Ag Health and Safety Program, made several recommendations.

* Wear warm boots with rubber soles for added traction. Put those slick-soled cowboy boots away until spring.

* If the sidewalk or gravel look slippery, walk on the grass. You will likely get better traction.

* Carry a small bag of rock salt, sand, or kitty litter in your pocket or car. Sprinkle it on slick spots when you find them.

* Enter buildings carefully, floors may be wet or icy and slick. Put down non-slip runners to increase traction. Use that rock salt, sand, or kitty litter on outside entrances, stairs, and walks.

* Cover tractors with a tarp or store in a shed during stormy weather to reduce ice accumulation on steps and ladders. If tractor steps get slick, clean them off completely before climbing on.

* Avoid walking onto icy ponds to chop ice. Use tank heaters, covers and insulation wherever possible around the farm.


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by:
Kerri Ebert, Communications Assistant
K-State Research& Extension News

Additional Information:
Kerri Ebert is at 785-532-2976 and John Slocombe is at 785-532-2906