National Safety Council: 10 Percent of Ag Injuries Result in Amputation

When it comes to hazardous work industries, farming is in the top three with transportation and warehousing, and mining. And many times after an accident, farmers end up as amputees. But when farmers and ranchers lose a limb on the job, they have a limited selection of prosthetics to help get them back to the fields.

Joseph Burris, the director of amputee rehabilitation at the University of Missouri Columbia, sees a lot of agriculture workers with amputations. The leading cause of amputation for his patients is diabetes, but right behind that is trauma – farmers and ranchers who have had horrific run-ins with equipment.

Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Based at KCUR in Kansas City

“It’s terrible to see the impact that amputation has on people,” Burris said. “It’s inspiring repeatedly to see people overcome some of their difficulties and have success.”

According to the National Safety Council, 1 out of every 10 agriculture injuries results in amputation. Burris helps farmers work with a new prosthesis meant to assist them when returning to the field. Devices today can plug into the electric signals in your muscles and you can control their movement. The problem is, they are really expensive.

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