Take farm safety seriously. Your life depends on it.
Jennifer Whittaker, Georgia Farm Bureau
Farming is one of the 10 most dangerous professions in the U.S. according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Take a glance around any farm and you’ll see the potential for accidents with augers, PTO shafts, tractors, ATVs, agitated livestock, farm chemicals or grain bins – just to name a few. That’s why it’s important that farmers, their families and anyone employed in agriculture take time to review recommended farm safety practices that could reduce the chance of injury from farming.
March 4-10 is Agricultural Safety Awareness Program Week. The American Farm Bureau Federation has joined forces with the U.S. Agricultural Safety & Health Centers to spotlight the hazards farmers face and the precautions that can be taken to avoid injury.
A different aspect of farm safety is being highlighted each day this week.
Monday looked at how ag workers can prevent hearing loss while around noisy tractors, conveyors and grain elevators. Visit the National Ag Safety Database to learn more.
Tuesday showed us how ag workers can protect themselves from respiratory hazards associated with agriculture. Penn State Extension – Agricultural Safety and Health has provided tips to reduce risks at http://bit.ly/PSUFarmRespHazards.
Wednesday’s focus is preventing distracted and impaired driving. Transportation accidents, which include tractor overturns, were the leading cause of death for the 401 farmers and farm workers who died in 2015, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Accidents involving machinery, including tractors, accounted for 23 percent of fatal injuries to farm youth from 1995 to 2002, and accidents involving motor vehicles, including ATVs, accounted for 19 percent of farm youth fatalities, the NIOSH reports.
If you’ve got a hardheaded teen who won’t listen to your warnings about driving the ATV slower or wearing a helmet, have them read “Don’t Rely on Guardian Angels to Stay Safe on the Farm” www.gfb.ag/FarmAngels - a personal account of lessons learned from surviving ATV wrecks.
Fire is Thursday’s topic. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 20,000 ag-related fires cause $102 million dollars in property losses and result in 25 fatalities on average each year. Visit the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety web page at http://bit.ly/StepsinReducingRisk to learn how to develop a plan to protect your farm.
Friday’s topic is general health – making sure farmers and their employees know the proper safety precautions for working in agriculture and where to seek healthcare. Visit the U.S. Department of Labor – Agricultural Operations at http://bit.lyOSHAHealth for tips.
Resources like AFBF Agricultural Safety Awareness Program, Cultivate Safety or U.S. Agricultural Safety and Health Centers also offer great information on how to keep yourself and your kids safe on the farm.
“No one can take your place” is the theme for this year’s Agricultural Safety Awareness Week. There couldn’t be a more appropriate theme. With farmers accounting for only one percent of the U.S. population, America is depending on every farmer we have to feed us.
Take every safety precaution you know you should take and encourage your kids and employees to do the same. The future of American agriculture is depending on you.