I’ll be the first to admit I normally skip over health and safety articles.
I know our industry is dangerous, and by no stretch of the imagination am I blase about such matters. I’m also sure most farmers are the same.
However, I have been caught out.
Some might say I’ve been unlucky, but I am afraid the truth is I was careless, and it has had a big impact on my life over the last couple of months.
While trying to remove a wheel bearing from a trailer, a tiny bit of metal flew into my unprotected eye. It stung a bit, but to be honest it didn’t really bother me.
Later that day it was still stinging so I visited my local minor injuries clinic for an examination. I was advised that I had sustained a corneal abrasion and that it would be sore for a few weeks but should heal.
Unfortunately, they failed to notice that a bit of metal was still embedded in my eye and, to cut a long story short, a few weeks later I was lying in an operating theatre as surgeons tried to save my eyesight.
I apologise if my terminology is not quite correct, but as I understand it removal of the metal resulted in a punctured lens, a stitch was inserted into my eye and some glue was used to fill the hole.
If this sounds unpleasant, I can tell you the reality of having this carried out under a local anaesthetic is worse.
All of this occurred at the start of June, and I was not allowed to work for nearly a month, the risk of rupturing the eye and infection being too high.
Thereafter I was allowed to return to light duties.
Eight weeks later, I have just had the stitch removed and unfortunately it appears that there is still a hole in my eye and fluid is still leaking out.
The result of that means that if you are reading this on Saturday morning it is quite likely you are doing so at the same time I am lying in an operating theatre having the above procedure repeated.
There is a moral in the above, mainly in respect of wearing safety goggles, but in reality there are so many things we all do on the farm that we usually “get away with”.
Unfortunately at some point we all get caught out.
Some are luckier than others, and I am grateful that my injury is relatively minor.
So next time you think about ‘taking a chance’ remember even something relatively low risk can have a big affect on your life.