A dairyman was in a hurry to get some heifers treated and when going over a gate, accidentally stuck a syringe filled with a powerful cattle treatment drug in his leg, just above the knee. He was unconscious before he hit the ground and laid in snow and mud for around four hours before waking up just enough to call for help. A quick-thinking family member called their veterinarian so he could contact the EMT’s to be sure they used the right treatment. If they had used their standard procedure for this type of reaction, they would have killed him instantly. Still, he had to be revived three times on the way to the hospital.
They believe he survived because he landed in that cold surface, and the freezing temperature slowed his heart rate enough to hinder the drug’s activity.
He’s alive today, but has lost significant heart capacity, over half of his lung capacity, and much of the muscle tissue just above his knee in that leg. For a dairyman and the core of the labor force of his family operation, that’s a lot of physical limitation to overcome.
In an interview he said, “You know… I’ve been using that stuff for over 10 years and I knew it was dangerous, but I didn’t know it was THAT dangerous!”
Safety Data Sheets are crucial information to have in an emergency, but we really shouldn’t wait for a life-threatening situation to read one. They should be readily available to all employees, stored in a clearly-marked binder, tabulated for easy reference, and reviewed on at least a quarterly basis to ensure they are up-to-date. Every compound, drug, chemical, cleanser, lubricant, herbicide, pesticide and material that has an SDS should be included in this binder.You never know when it can save someone’s life—maybe even yours!