A total of six lives were reported lost in accidents on Virginia farms in 2008 — the lowest number since Virginia Farm Bureau began gathering statistics in 1994.
Tractor overturns accounted for four fatalities; an equipment run-over accounted for a fifth; and unspecified events led to the sixth. Farm Bureau received no reports of fatalities resulting from collisions involving farm equipment on public roads, working around animals or using all-terrain vehicles for farm work.
“We had a great safety year in 2008,” said Bruce Stone, Farm Bureau’s safety manager. “While we’d like to have no fatalities, this is the lowest we’ve ever seen. This really shows producers are being more cautious and practicing good safety techniques.”
Farm Bureau has kept unofficial records of farm fatalities and injuries occurring in the state since 1994. According to the organization’s 14-year totals, 95 people have died when their tractors overturned; 47 were involved in unspecified tractor or equipment mishaps; and 42 were run over by tractors or other farm equipment. Another 53 fatalities occurred while operating farm equipment on public roads, working around animals, using ATVs for farm work or performing other farming tasks.
“Farm safety is a day-in, day-out job that every person involved on the farm should take seriously,” Stone said. “Every person we lose to death or injury on our farms is a family member, co-worker and a friend. Farm fatalities also cost money, and that takes away from the bottom line of our operations.”
Farm Bureau safety staff travel across Virginia presenting farm safety seminars and inspecting farms for potential safety risks. Contact Stone at 804-290-1381 or Jimmy Maass, Farm Bureau safety coordinator, at 804-290-1379.