Across the nation, county and state Farm Bureaus have committed to making safety a top priority this spring through the Agricultural Safety Awareness Program.
Participants have designated March 3-9 Agricultural Safety Awareness Week.
This year’s theme is “Agricultural Safety: Your Best Investment,” and the emphasis of the week is on encouraging farmers to make safety a priority as they prepare to plant crops this spring.
Making safety a priority on the farm and ranch can save both lives and resources by preventing accidents, injuries and lost time.
According to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
• Every day, 243 agricultural workers suffer lost-work-time injury. Five percent of these injuries result in permanent impairment. That equates to 12 workers daily who sustain injuries resulting in permanent disabilities.
• Approximately 1,783,000 full-time workers were employed in production agriculture in the U.S. in 2009. During this same year, 440 farmers and farm workers died from a work-related injury for a fatality rate of 24.7 deaths per 100,000 workers.
• Although the total number of youth fatalities on farms and ranches is declining, according to industry experts when fatal injuries do occur among youths on farms, 23 percent involved machinery (including tractors), 19 percent involved motor vehicles (including ATVs) and 16 percent were due to drowning.
• Between 1992 and 2009, 9,003 farmers and farm workers died from work-related injuries in the U.S. The leading cause of death for these workers was tractor overturns, accounting for more than 90 deaths annually.
• The most effective way to prevent tractor-overturn deaths is the use of a Roll-Over Protective Structure (ROPS) with a seatbelt. In 2006, only 59 percent of tractors used on U.S. farms were equipped with ROPS.
Further, ag safety statistics compiled by National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health indicate:
• Over the eleven years from 1998 to 2009, the rate of childhood agricultural injuries per 1,000 farms (includes youth who live on, visit, and are hired to work on farms) declined by 57 percent (from 16.6 to 7.2). The rate of injuries per 1,000 household youth (those living on farms) declined by 60 percent (from 18.8 to 7.5) during that same period.
• On average, 113 youth less than 20 years of age die annually from farm-related injuries (1995-2002), with most of these deaths occurring among youth 16-19 years of age (34 percent).
These statistics emphasize why, during Ag Safety Awareness Week and throughout the year, state Farm Bureaus focus on making farms and ranches safer for farmers, their family members and employees.
ASAP is part of the Farm Bureau Safety and Health Network of professionals who share an interest in identifying and decreasing safety and health risks.
For more information, visit agsafetynow.com.