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Death and injury in aerial spraying: pre-crash, crash, and post-crash prevention strategies


Death and injury in aerial spraying: pre-crash, crash, and post-crash prevention strategies



Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine 52(1): 53-56



ISSN/ISBN: 0095-6562

PMID: 7213290

To prevent crash-related death and injury among spray pilots, a program including pre-crash, crash and post-crash stages of intervention for aircraft, physical environment, and pilots and ground crews was proposed in accordance with a matrix of options derived from road crash epidemiology. In addition to the dangers of fixed obstacles, low-altitude runs, and heavy work schedules, work hazards included combined exposures to noise, vibration, G forces, heat stress, pesticides, and dehydration. Together, these exposures were believed to have produced slight, but crucial decreases in pilot performance, alertness and skill. For aircraft, the major pre-crash measure was cockpit air cooling, with filter technologies to prevent in-flight pesticide exposure. Crash and post-crash design changes to reduce energy transfers to the pilot's body (thermal, kinetic) were the most important recommendations, because absolute prevention of the crash event was unlikely. For the environment, pre-crash recommendations included marking fixed obstacles, such as power and telephone lines, but preferably their elimination. Other measures included drainage pits with sodium hydroxide points to neutralize parathion and prevent dispersion of parathion-containing mists. Pilot pre-crash measures (more fluid intake, biological monitoring--EMG, urinary alkyl phosphate, cholinesterase testing) required special organizational arrangements. Systematic application of options from the foregoing matrix suggest that the high risk of death and injury from aerial spraying is unnecessary.

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Accession: 042737936

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