A number of industries around Australia are subject to their own unique risks. The country's agricultural industry is no exception to this, as people working these roles run the risk of being injured or becoming ill in a number of different ways.
While there are physical dangers associated with the range of machinery farmers use on a daily basis, there are other ways people in the industry can fall ill. The risk of coming into contact with hazardous substances such as pesticides is also well documented, but how many people are aware of some of the hidden dangers that can result in dust disease claims?
What is Farmer's Lung?
Farmer's Lung is classed as a dust disease, putting it in a class with similar afflictions such as the much-publicised Mesothelioma which results when people come into contact with asbestos fibres.
In many cases, Farmer's Lung is very similar, as it occurs when people inhale something that reacts with the human body. The main cause of Farmer's Lung, however, is what sets it apart from other diseases in this class.
Unlike Mesothelioma, which stems from a well-known dangerous substance, the dust that results in Farmer's Lung is bred from a much more innocent source. Mouldy hay is often the main cause for the dust that carries this disease, meaning agricultural staff working in areas where this is common should protect themselves where possible.
Farmer's Lung isn't unique to hay, and in fact can be caused by contact with any mouldy crop, including straw, silage and other grains. Because of this, any old crops can pose significant risks to people who come in contact with them without the necessary equipment. People should also take care when clearing out old farm buildings that may have a buildup of these substances.
What are the symptoms?
Depending on the severity of the infection, people who contract Farmer's Lung can suffer a range of different symptoms. People who have been working in agricultural roles that experience these signs should consider seeking medical assistance.
Those with acute Farmer's lung are likely to experience a range of symptoms, including shortness of breath, dry coughs, a rapid heart and breath rate and a fever. People who have developed sub-acute Farmer's lung will suffer similar afflictions but at a lesser level.
If you think you have developed Farmer's Lung or a similar dust disease and have further questions about making a claim, contact the team at Gerard Malouf and Partners.
Extract: While Mesothelioma is one of the most highly publicised dust diseases, there are plenty of others which can be just as dangerous to people.