During industrialization in agriculture, many farming machines have been introduced. It is well-known that farming is a dangerous workplace and that farm machinery cause many serious accidents every year. Four cases of accidents with potato harvesters are discussed. In three of four cases the farmers were injured while cleaning the machine without stopping it, which probably was the main cause of the accidents. Farmers are in general not careful enough when using farm machinery. Every year, farmers in Denmark are severely invalided in accidents with potato harvesters. A strategy to lower the accidents is proposed: 1. Information of farmers, farmer schools, machine constructors and importers about mechanisms of injury. 2. A better education of farmers in using potato harvesters (and other farming machines). 3. Better fencing of the potato harvesters. 4. If possibly constructional changes in the potato harvesters so things will not get stuck, or so that the machine will stop if things stuck. 5. Installation of switches on potato harvesters, which can be reached from all positions, stopping the machines immediately, or a remote switch control carried by the farmer.
This study has been carried out in order to suggest possible prophylactic recommendations. We investigated the type of injuries, the type of logsplitter used, the injury circumstances and the safety measures. Fifty-two patients were included. There were a total of 21 crushing injuries with amputations of fingers, hand, on forearm. Nine replantations, two revascularisations and seven amputations were carried out. Eighty-eight percent of the patients had their hand in the splitting area. Sixty-seven percent had not received any instructions on how to operate the machinery. In 58% of the cases two or more persons were operating the logsplitter and 40% of the machines had no emergency stop button. The hazards mentioned above influenced the injury frequence and severity. We therefore recommend improved prophylactic measures and precautions to be considered. For the old machines a campaign will be necessary, and for new logsplitters we recommend implementation of new standards.