A sobering reminder about farm safety

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Farm safety is improving according to two new USDA reports, but agriculture remains one of the most dangerous career fields in America.

Two USDA reports – “Agricultural Safety: 2009 Injuries to Adults on Farms” and “2011 Farm and Ranch Safety Survey” – looked at safety in today’s agricultural industry.  

According to the USDA, in 2009 there were an estimated 42,000 work-related injuries to adults living or  working on U.S. farms. This is 41 percent lower than reported in 2004.

Of those injured:

  • 69 percent were men.
  • 84 percent of all work-related farm injuries occurred to adults who were part of the farm household, as opposed to hired workers.
  • Animals were the primary source in 21 percent of the injuries.
  • 78 percent of the animal-related injuries were attributed to horses or cattle.
  • The average age was 52.2 years, up from 47.8 years reported in 2001.

The USDA also looked at dangerous machinery operated on farms. Tractors are the leading cause of occupational fatalities in agriculture, and a recent rollover death in Iowa points to the risks involved with the large machines.

There were an estimated 4.4 million tractors in operation on farms and ranches in 2011. Of those, 59 percent were equipped with roll-over protective structures.

Other farm hazards included all-terrain vehicles and storage facilities.

Click here to read “Agricultural Safety: 2009 Injuries to Adults on Farms” and “2011 Farm and Ranch Safety Survey”.

Farming may be a dangerous job, but putting safety first could help prevent accidents that lead to injuries and fatalities. The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) released a fact sheet to help improve farm safety. Click here for more.  

In addition, Kent McGuire, an Ohio State University Extension ag safety educator and Ohio AgrAbility Program coordinator, suggests the following tips to avoid the risk of fatigue, which can increase the likelihood of an accident:

  • Get plenty of sleep. 
  • Avoid thinking about work once you have finished for the day. Engage in an activity that will get your mind off of the tasks ahead. 
  • Pace yourself and plan out your activities. 
  • Eat healthy and maintain a normal eating schedule. 
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Dehydration can cause fatigue. 
  • Take short breaks throughout the day. 
  • Get some exercise after sitting over long periods of time. Stretching or even a short walk will get your body moving and re-energized. 

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