- Reaction time to accidents differs with individuals.
- Experience plays a part, but its importance can be overplayed.
- Often lifestyle factors such a slack of sleep are most important.
Operating on a farm is for many people a real choice that they make, and come to love the nature of the lifestyle that comes with it. Like any business, health and safety is a major issue, and for many people a major headache, as the nature of a farm or agricultural business makes risk management extremely difficult at times.
A really sound business will put the safety of its employees at the heart of everything that is done, and will continue to do so throughout the duration of the operation of the business. Safety should be instilled into the view of all employees as to how best to make a business function.
The reason safety is so important is because there are a significant number of unquantifiable risks operating throughout farming and agriculture, some of them relatively minor, others relatively severe.
Most businesses, including farms, are likely to have some type of risk management process in place that can identify these risks, do what they can to minimise them, manage the balance and integrate the culture of training and adherence into the workforce.
However sound the health and safety approach within the business is, there are inevitably going to be a number of emergencies that happen that are connected to the farm.
These emergencies may happen on farm land, farm buildings, farm machinery, farm animals or on highways that intersect the land, or on general roads that are used in connection with the work of the farm.
Emergencies tend to happen in split seconds, and how an individual reacts can often make the difference between life and death, injury or not, destruction of property or not and damage to other people and animals
People often think that reaction time in individuals is a static or fixed thing, and that some people just react quicker than others.
This is often true, but what gets overlooked is that there are also very specific reasons why some people react quicker than others. It is not really a genetic thing, it is more an environmental thing in terms of behaviour and lifestyle that can affect someone’s ability to react quickly or not..
Emergencies that happen in relation to farm and agricultural work but she always require a quick as possible reaction time, whether it’s a vehicle collision, or spillage of hazardous materials, minimising the initial damage is often crucial in preventing further damage and enabling the situation to be rectified in a more timely manner.
A number of things determine someone’s ability to react quickly. Perhaps the most basic is simply experience. Someone who has a lot of experience in a particular area of work almost instinctively sense likelihood of something going wrong, or a potential danger, and either take action to avoid it all know what best to do to curtail it.
This can be especially true on farms and agricultural land, where a high proportion of accidents involve the use of tractors and related machinery, and where the experience of using can often prove crucial in avoiding or minimising serious accidents.
Experience is not necessarily always the answer, but generally in relation to the more hazardous risks that exist in a business, someone who has experience in these areas is more likely to react quickly and someone who doesn’t have that experience.
It goes without saying that experience comes with age, it is impossible to get experience without some degree of growing older and this should be borne in mind in relation to particularly hazardous jobs in agriculture, particulars relating to poisons and pesticides.
The other thing that is really important in terms of affecting reaction of many simple things like fitness and fatigue.
Most jobs on a farm or not sedentary, but that does not mean that people are necessarily fit. A level of physical fitness can significantly improve someone’s reaction time, in the same way that someone who is generally tired and lethargic is more obviously going to diminish their reaction time to dealing with an emergency.
At a practical level, lack of sleep can be one the biggest issues on a farm. This is because so much of farming and agricultural work is dependent on the weather, as well as working during daylight, which can often mean early starts and long days. The need to have some respite from this can often include a degree of distractions, often such as alcohol or cigarettes.
These distractions, which do not need to be to excess, can often combine with other things such as lack of sleepand produce a degree of lethargythat could seriously impair someone’s judgement, or their ability to respond effectively to an emergency.