The Van Trump Report

Farm Safety Week Kicks Off With “Protecting Agriculture’s Future” Theme

The third week of September is National Farm Safety and Health Week, timed to coincide with the busy harvest season that leaves many farmers running low on both time and sleep. Not surprisingly, it’s also the time of year that farm accidents tend to increase. Running September 19-23, this year’s theme is “Protecting Agriculture’s Future,” a gentle reminder that the cornerstone of sustainable agriculture is safe and healthy farmers.

Overall, farming remains the most dangerous job in America, with 573 fatalities reported in 2019, the most recent data available. That’s equivalent to 23.1 deaths per 100,000 workers. What’s more, nearly a third of the farm population sustains non-lethal injuries in any given year.

Safety topics that are stressed this week include the most deadly subject – tractor and rural roadway safety. Half the farm fatalities reported each year are from transportation accidents. The unfortunate incidents involving farm vehicles are not limited to farm fields either, with many of them occurring on roadways.

Several studies have found that the majority of farm vehicle collisions occurred in the fall, and October was reported to be the peak month. Specifically in Midwestern states, a recent study indicated that harvest season accounted for nearly 40% of the crashes.

An interesting finding in one Iowa study revealed that most crashes are happen on a dry surface (77.4%), with only 8.9% occurring on wet surfaces. What’s more, the study also found crashes on a dry surface are more likely to result in injuries.

Rollover is a common type of single-vehicle crash that is known to be one of the leading causes of death among farmers, accounting for approximately 130 fatalities each year in the US. When a farm vehicle rolls over there is a high risk of falling out for the driver who is not restrained by a seat belt. The share of rollovers that resulted in a fatality is 2.3 times higher for fatal farm vehicle collisions compared to all other vehicle crashes

Other topics stressed this week include grain bin safety, wildfire and heat safety, injury prevention, and safety and health specific for youth and woman on farms. The week also reminds farmers to take care of themselves and not neglect food, sleep, or regular medication they may take.
National Farm Safety and Health Week was established in 1944 by the National Safety Council (NSC). The annual promotion is led by the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS), the agricultural partner of the NSC. Each day during National Farm Safety & Health Week, AgriSafe is hosting two free webinars related to the daily topic of focus. Participants only need to register one time to access all of the NFSHW webinars. Check out the full schedule HERE.

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