Posted by: Kelley Dees | March 22, 2011

Solutions for Living: Back-saving solutions

Agriculture is among the most hazardous occupations in the United States and around the world. In Wyoming, agriculture has the highest rate of nonfatal occupational injury and illness. It’s estimated that 140,000 non-fatal workplace injuries occur every year in agriculture.  There are about 17 injuries per 100 agriculture employees per year in the state of Wyoming (the average is only 6 for the United States). Assistive technology can help prevent these injuries and can especially aid in the prevention of secondary injuries.

Today’s post is the first in a series of posts detailing examples of products and solutions that can help ranchers and farmers with everyday tasks and reduce the likelihood of secondary injury.

First in this series: Back-Saving Solutions. These solutions offer ways to move heavy objects more easily, reduce strenuous bending or lifting, and to provide extra support for injured backs.

  • An ergonomic snow shovel has a bent shaft or handle so that you can grip the handle without bending down. This helps protect your back. Also, most are made of aluminum, so they are much lighter than your typical snow shovel. Be sure to take the length into consideration. Ergonomic shovels vary greatly in length, so it’s a good idea to test it out before you take it home. Be sure that it’s the right length for your height or the height of the person who will be doing the shoveling.
  • An expanding folding crate with wheels is a great solution to heavy workloads. These crates are lightweight, yet extremely durable.
  • A waste can with a foot pedal can keep you from having to bend over to open the trash can. While this may seem like a small task, you can reap great benefits from this solution.
  • A no-bend dustpan and broom set is a wonderful solution, especially for cleaning up messes in the shop. Instead of having to bend over to use the dustpan, you can simply place it where it needs to go and hold it in place.

These solutions aren’t just for farmers and ranchers, nor are they only solutions for people with disabilities or limiting injuries. These can help those in the best of health stay that way! Most back injuries aren’t from one single occurrence, rather they are from several occurrences that begin with minor back pain and continually grow into a severe problem. Take the necessary steps NOW to prevent back pain and injuries by implementing some of these solutions today!

Check out the other posts in the Solutions for Living series:

Disclaimer: The University of Wyoming, Wyoming AgrAbility and its project partners, and the United States Department of Agriculture do not endorse or recommend any of the products or websites described at the exclusion of other suitable products or websites. The author’s opinion of the safety and effectiveness of the products is based on the representations of the companies that produce them and assume that all directions as to their use have been followed.

This information is provided courtesy of the Wyoming AgrAbility Project. For more information, visit our website or call toll-free at 866-395-4986.

This information is adapted from Solutions for Living: Everyday tools for ranchers and farmers, a publication of Wyoming AgrAbility and the University of Wyoming/Cooperative Extension Service. The full brochure can be viewed here (1.7 MB file).


  1. Kelley: This information is really useful to be able to tell people not only about what AgrAbility is, but the kinds of things we can do to help people. I’m incorporating some of these practical ideas into my PowerPoint, to get everyone thinking about how to stay healthy!


    • Thanks Ellen! Glad I could help!

  2. I liked your article is an interesting technology.
    thanks to google I found you.

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