• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Jocelyn Campbell
stewards:
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Burra Maluca
  • Miles Flansburg
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Anne Miller
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Mike Jay
gardeners:
  • Bill Crim
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Greg Martin

Dangers and Accidents on a Homestead  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 1304
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
286
books forest garden rabbit solar tiny house woodworking
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Life is full of dangers, and that includes the home and farm (regardless of how small or big). But if I'm aware of potential dangers, I can usually avoid getting harmed....or having my growing areas or livestock harmed. With all the new people getting interested in permaculture and farming, perhaps a discussion of potential dangers could save someone a bit of grief.

I've had my share of accidents too. So far I've been lucky. I've survived them all fairly intact.
 
garden master
Posts: 1330
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
407
bee books food preservation forest garden cooking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hmmm.... As you harvest your many greens, just prior to them bolting to seed, do not be overconfident in your repetitive movements. Always be aware of precisely the positioning of the hand that holds your greens in relation to the location of your very sharp knife!!! Ouch!!
 
gardener
Posts: 7672
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
511
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am moving to somewhere, where there are many quite poor people. This presents challenges and opportunities. It means lots of inexpensive labor, but also people who will covet what I have. So I have to be careful who I associate with. There will be those who want something for nothing, those who want loans and those who aren't pleased with my relationship with a local woman.

It won't always be easy to identify who is who. There will also be those who are hoping to make some money, through providing various services that I need. For them, my arrival will be a very positive thing.

Then there are cobras, centipedes and scorpions.
 
Posts: 290
Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
60
cat chicken fish forest garden homestead hugelkultur cooking transportation trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I view the yard as a workplace, so wear the appropriate safety gear: hat, gloves, Standards Approved work boots, etc. And, take the correct precautions when using anything that runs on electricity or petrol.

Most farmers here wear high visibility work gear as normal clothing - similar to the stuff roadwork crews use - if something goes wrong out in the paddock, they are easily spotted.

Lifting heavy or awkward loads can really screw up joints, tendons, muscles and the spine. So am ultra careful - doing most of the work alone, I tend to think up easy ways to move stuff: a bit of wood to lever something heavy into place rather than drag or push it.

Keeping the place clear of long grass and storing sheet metal, etc properly is a must - removes shelter for vermin that always attract highly venomous snakes.

The village is very people safe, so there's no problems with security. Everyone looks after each other.

Injuries would simply delay all the things I want to achieve, so an ounce of prevention is worth ...
 
steward
Posts: 3100
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
653
books food preservation hunting solar trees woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's a related thread with good information about tractors and heavier equipment The extreme danger of machinery.

I'd highlight the wood cutting arena as a high chance of injury.  Watch the youtube safety training videos by the major chainsaw companies (Husqvarna comes to mind).  Also watch the videos with titles like "idiots with chainsaws".  It's very informative to see WHY you shouldn't do things like:
  • Cutting branches off a tree while standing on a ladder
  • Cutting straight through without doing a notch and hinge
  • Assuming your buddies truck and a rope can pull over a 40,000 lb tree that is leaning towards your house
  •  
    pollinator
    Posts: 190
    Location: South of Capricorn
    40
    food preservation homestead rabbit
    • Likes 3
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    when you're scything or machete-ing and need to really put some oomph into it, cut AWAY from you, not toward your opposite leg, for example. those machetes can be longer than you think (i didn't cut off my foot but I sure had a close call).

    Keep your knives sharp, even if that means stopping and wiping the tomato juice off your knife. A dull knife is a knife that can hurt you (and that one I learned the hard way).

    from back in the day with tractors but this holds true for any equipment- emergency brake and in gear when you park. Chocks if your equipment has no brake. If you get in the habit it becomes second nature.

    Always shake out your boots/shoes and hanging clothing/towels (I live in a place where there are venomous spiders and snakes. Again, make it a habit and you do it without thinking).

    @Dale, I also made that kind of move a few times and it takes a big shift in mindset (coming from North America). Luckily we are simple people and not proud but every once in a while I find myself biting off a word before I say it, just to be safe. Not sure where you're going but what I learned the hard way, if your neighbors have bars on the windows, get bars on your windows too, no matter how ugly they look. The bad guys go for the easiest target they can find, why make it easy for them. It doesn't hurt to get a big scary-looking dog too (just don't let the neighbors see that he's actually a big baby).
     
    Posts: 28
    9
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Be aware of what you're doing and what's around you while you're doing it, stop and rest if you start to space out, learn to anticipate where the tool will go if it slips, or what you'll fall onto if you lose your footing.  Go get help if you need it, even if it takes more time, because if you tweak your back out it will be more trouble in the end than fetching the neighbor to lift whatever it is.  Spend the money for proper safety gear and wear it--you'll look way better in chainsaw chap orange than bloodsoaked jeans! Where I live if you are injured and need medical attention you either have to find someone with a boat to take you off, if it's not really serious, or get medivacced out, which is really expensive.  Getting hurt is a huge deal, logistically.  We have remarkably few accidents here, despite all the chainsaws, sharp tools, tractors, and physical labor, because people are pretty cautious, for the most part, and have learned to work smart and safe.  
     
    Posts: 23
    Location: Central Virginia
    6
    bike medical herbs wood heat
    • Likes 3
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Lift with your legs! I was cutting up a tree which had died and I cut down... a 10-ft section I needed to prop up on another small log so it would be easier to cut with the chainsaw, so I lifted it up with both hands, then held it in place while attempting to kick the smaller log under it. It worked fine.

    2 days later I came down with sciatica pain which plagued me for 2 weeks, required a doctor, drugs and 2 weeks of physical therapy to eliminate. I'm 68 years old, you'd think I'd know better. The worst part was an embarrassing lesson in how to lift heavy objects, by the physical therapist with everyone watching and of course I assumed they're all thinking, what an idiot this guy is, trying to lift a huge log at his age...
     
    Posts: 6
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    ALL good advice and insightful both safety wise as it has no costs’ to be safe where being healthy paranoid of humans is a must. We haven’t started work on our farmstead yet other than moving materials into place on the 36.2 acres over the last two years in anticipation of drilling a water well to kick everything off. Due to our soil profile being 100% deep sandy loam on the up slope of neighboring parcels west and south and state trust sections north and east, all rain water absorbs fast, deep and flows down slope making sprinkler irrigation a must. We are heavily forested with mature producing Pinion Pines and Juniper trees averaging 20 to 30 feet in height or taller at an elevation of 6300’. As I’ll be alone in this very remote location with spotty cellphone service I’ll carry a satellite beacon with phone capability at all times. Being from the industrial construction and service trades working alone was the norm, it’s a frame of mind never to be taken lightly. That said the aspect of safety of tools and equipment from other human(s) comes into play during winter months when no one is there full time. I will not be making friends with most everyone around me which is maybe about 12 parcels in the 12,000 acre development, not interested.                
     
    pollinator
    Posts: 421
    Location: Pacific Wet Coast
    75
    books chicken duck cooking
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Victor Skaggs wrote:

    The worst part was an embarrassing lesson in how to lift heavy objects, by the physical therapist with everyone watching

    Vinctor, for any of us who grew up in suburbia, it's not just that we never learned, either through direct teaching or observation, how to lift, but how to use many common farm/homestead tools. I learned a much better way of using a shovel and fork from reading a book. There is a difference between a long handled and a "D" handled shovel, and they come in different shapes and using the right tool for certain jobs can make a huge difference. But when I first started to garden, a shovel was a shovel, (what - you can use a file to sharpen a shovel?)

    So I know that the obvious dangers are around heavy machinery and sharp objects, but take the time to learn about the ergonomically correct way to use common tools if you've never been exposed to them, or if you think you've been imitating people who could easily use brawn to make up for good practices.  "Ergonomically" is just a technical way to say the efficient and safe way to interact with a tool or object. I used it because if it's used in a safety video, there's a higher chance that the video was made by someone with actual training. That said, listen to your own body when you try new ways - I've run into "ergonomically designed tools" that were ergonomically designed for 6 ft males who weighs 200 lbs and that simply don't work for me.
     
    Posts: 13
    Location: Olympic Penninsula
    6
    forest garden homestead tiny house
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Was just talking about this over in the "Working Alone" thread.  

    "1) I endorse the emphasis on safety.  It doesn't take long to bleed to unconsciousness.  Get used to the idea that its better to send a false alarm then for someone to find you dead from a missing toe.  If its deeper than an inch, or the puddle is bigger than a pancake or it burbles up like a clogged water-fountain, take a ride in an ambulance, let them decide how bad it is. "




    So this came up with regards to taking down trees using straps, but is applicable in other situations with tension:

    If you are going to work with lines under tension remember  (chains, ropes, straps, cables), if they are under-tension they can be storing a tremendous amount of force, which can, if they snap, accelerate the now-free ends faster than anyone can react.  You won't know its happened until its over.  I've seen a 5" diameter tree CUT IN HALF by a snapped chain from a tractor pulling a second tractor out of mud. Sounded like an explosion.   I have heard about people getting cut in half by snapped cables.
    So...
    1) know the rated capacities of every part that is under tension, from pulleys, to shackles to nuts and bolts.
    2) put a shear-bolt, or put the weakest link in your system where you want it to fail, so that if something goes wrong, the failure point is known and the failure doesn't put you in danger.   I put my shear bolt right at the stationary end of the come-along, and that is right next to the tree I'm felling. If it snaps, the come-along is pulled away from me toward one anchor tree, and the other end is pulled away from me, around the target tree and toward the other anchor tree.
    3) Use a tension guage so you can stay well bellow the rated tension.  in a system where 1.5 tons in the lowest rated part, I use about 500lbs of tension.  that is plenty on a small tree. This does not replace properly planning your hinge-cut, and it is not a good way to cope with a large tree that is leaning.  this is for a tree where there isn't enough diameter to get a wedge in.  



    Also:  Lock out/Tag Out.  You think you're working alone.  but is some "helpful" person going to turn the water or power back on while you are fiddling with the system.  This almost happened with my electric fence.  I'm solo homesteading but I live in a small neighborhood of about 30 homes up on a low ridge.   I'm replacing two fence posts, have the electric fence turned off.  I come back up the hill to see my neighbor and his dog staring at my energizer and he says "hey, how do I restart this, your fence is off!" I guess he noticed the clicking sound was gone and he was, what, going to reboot it like a computer?  Anyway now I leave notes on things, even if 99% of the time no one is going read them.

    One last danger issue:  fire and tiny houses.  I live in 105sqft tiny house.  I sleep by the door, i have two fire extinguishers and a smoke/CO2 detector and no sources of combustion (all appliances are electric, arc-fault breakered, I keep flamables in a shed, etc.  I still practice fire-drills and time them. I use a phone app called "Randomly RemindMe" to surprise myself.    Poisonous fumes from fire can kill very quickly in an enclosed space.  I used to work in chemistry before retiring to homesteading.  Its why i won't go near any of that home-brew Biodiesel preps or wood vinegar stills stuff.  We don't have as much control as our fancy blue-prints suggest.  Real materials and dirty mixtures are not 100% predictable. That 1% risk  re-rolled every day or every week is a funeral in the futre.

    On a happier note, most of homesteading actually improves your health, your fitness, your happiness and your survival chances... so just be cautious and enjoy.
     
    Posts: 1540
    Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
    59
    bee chicken duck forest garden greening the desert homestead kids pig
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Tools. Obvious dangers associated.

    Animals. Turkeys and chickens have been far more dangerous to me than my pigs.
     
    pollinator
    Posts: 804
    Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
    128
    bike dog forest garden hugelkultur cooking urban
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    In my opinion machines are much more dangerous than people.
    So I rather make friends and work together with them, than to work in a remote location all alone with a machine
     
    Posts: 179
    Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
    20
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    This is just a general warning: do your thing to be and stay safe physically. As we embark on growing food for people, there are those who are not happy because they want cottage industries to fail: We are their competition.
    Join your local Farmers' Unions to prevent idiotic laws to be implemented. Someone actually floated the idea of making *manure* illegal to grow organic crops: "There is no quality control!"It failed quickly, but to think that someone in the legislature would come up with a hair brained idea like that!!
    Also, if you have employees, do all you can to keep them safe and carry adequate insurance. Beware of growing too big. An employee injured on the job can attract a lot of ambulance chasers. They seek out the biggest money pot.
     
    Posts: 6
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Dale Hodgins: You said: "Then there are cobras, centipedes and scorpions."

    Those three are mostly ground dwellers - at least when they are outside.

    You also have to watch for fuzzy friendly looking caterpillars. They climb on tall grasses or low hanging leaves and will cause very painful stings just by brushing against them.

    Oh yeah. . . the plants are powerful as well. Always wear protective eye gear when picking Mangoes or Cashews  - or cutting the branches. The sap, which runs freely, will severely burn your skin and can blind an eye.

    Welcome to Thailand! (or Cambodia etcetera).
     
    Su Ba
    pollinator
    Posts: 1304
    Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
    286
    books forest garden rabbit solar tiny house woodworking
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Ladders and table saws have by far caused to most numbers of major injuries among my friends.

    With ladders, they need to be set correctly, you can't go reaching out to grab something without unbalancing it, you can't safely climb higher than it is meant to be used, and climbing down can be dangerous as well if you don't watch your step. And it's wise to use the correct ladder type for the specific task at hand. Sadly I've seen people in my area kill themselves from a ladder fall. Others have broken their backs, ankles, legs, arms, and wrists. One just recently knocked themselves out and got a concussion. I myself peeled a 10 inch strip of skin off my shin when I missed a step coming down. Boy, did that hurt! Yes, I was in a hurry and didn't watch what I was doing.

    Table saws seem to cause a lot of injuries, mostly lacerated or cut off fingers. Thankfully I've never run afoul with a saw. But there are numerous people in my area missing parts of fingers due to table saws. It's common for people around here to build their own houses, barns, sheds, etc. So using saws is common. And so are the injuries associated with them.
     
    master pollinator
    Posts: 822
    Location: mountains of Tennessee
    200
    bee books cat cattle chicken dog homestead hugelkultur hunting solar foraging
    • Likes 4
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Creosote fires in chimneys are fairly common. Prevented by cleaning.

    A neighbor recently blew up half his house & put several people in the hospital. Trying to light a gas insert in his fireplace. Not sure exactly what happened but obviously there was too much gas involved. It was a very loud BOOM. Things at our house shook. About half a mile away.

    Someone mentioned lock out tag out. That OSHA law requires a physical lock as well as a note (tag). The person at risk possesses the only key. That law applies to all forms of stored energy. Electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, etc. Don't take someones word for it. Lock it yourself & VERIFY with meters & such that it is truly de-energized before proceeding.

    There are old pilots & there are bold pilots. There are no old bold pilots. The same applies with a lot of other activites.
     
    Jay Angler
    pollinator
    Posts: 421
    Location: Pacific Wet Coast
    75
    books chicken duck cooking
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Mike Barkley wrote:

    VERIFY with meters & such that it is truly de-energized before proceeding.

    I'll second that verify - my spouse nearly electrocuted himself discovering that the idiot who wired the house we bought had mixed up the wires so that the baseboard heaters which require 220 Volts were hooked up to 2 different sets of paired breakers instead of on a single set of paired breakers. He turned off one paired breaker, the heater appeared to be off, so he carried on. We had the heaters off for painting. He covered the wire ends and put a plate over the box and we rely on the wood stove for heat - and he bought brushes so he'd clean the chimney regularly!! The moral here is that you can't even trust that a house that "passed an electrical inspection" is actually safe.
     
    Victor Skaggs
    Posts: 23
    Location: Central Virginia
    6
    bike medical herbs wood heat
    • Likes 3
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    My back injury which fortunately has healed was caused simply by lifting wrongly while too old... as people go through the dangers in a home or at a homestead, I have to mention... the farm equipment!

    Ever since I turned over a large Ford tractor on a hillside I have been scrupulously careful with my smaller one, a 19hp Satoh Buck. That tractor could rip off a limb or crush me to death in an instant if I made a wrong move. The rototiller might not kill me but could rip up a leg. Someone pointed out that people raised in the suburbs might not know about these things. Very true. I was fortunate to have been half raised in WV so I knew how to drive a tractor, shoot all sorts of guns, etc. I had some country smarts. But you can never let down your guard. Make one little mistake with a gun and you'll regret it forever.

    The overarching rule for using any tool or equipment is to do so while aware, awake and alert. Never let down your guard. Always THINK THINK THINK what you're doing. Those of us trying to get back the culture of food production and living on the earth are valuable people so let's not hurt or maim or kill ourselves in the process!
     
    Posts: 8
    Location: Southern Illinois
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Hi Victor,


    Excellent point about not letting down one's guard.  I certainly have more than  one grey hair, and I am careful to think through each task before I start.  Most important is considering everything than can go wrong. I then have the benefit of identifying the early warning signs and stopping what I am doing to change tactics.
     
    John F Dean
    Posts: 8
    Location: Southern Illinois
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Hi Mike,

    Your post reminds me of a drive I used to take about every two weeks.  I would stop at a small town cafe where there was an old gas station across the street.   Except one time the gas station was missing. As near as could be determined, the station had hired a new employee who decided to clean oil from  the bay by moping it with gasoline......then the furnace kicked in.
     
    Joe Danielek
    Posts: 6
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Just found out today there is a Air Ambulance Service that provides emergency flights from remote areas to subscribers for a annual fee of around $85.00. They provide one Life Flight per year per subscriber and family and possibly friends on their remote and/or wilderness property. Don't know the details yet but a huge savings of 15k to $22k.

    When I find out I'll post the details and contact info.
     
    Crusading Chameleon likes the size of this ad:
    It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
    http://permaculture-design-course.com/
    • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
    • New Topic
    Boost this thread!