Ag Safety Awareness Week Slated for March 3-9
The Montana Farm Bureau wants to remind all producers, their families and employees that Agricultural Safety Awareness Week is slated for March 3-9. This year’s theme “Agricultural Safety: Your Best Investment,” emphasizes that farmers need to make safety a priority as they prepare to plant crops.
Making safety a priority on the farm and ranch can save both lives and resources by preventing accidents, injuries and lost time, according to Gene Surber, co-coordinator of the Montana Ag Safety Program.
“It cannot be over emphasized how important it is to take time to do farm tasks in a safe manner. Everyone on the farm/ranch can make a difference in the health and safety of loved ones and employees,” says Surber. “Any family or agricultural operation that has had a serious safety incident which resulted in an employee or family member being injured will tell you there are overwhelming physical, emotional and financial consequences associated with the safety incident.”
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.
These are just a few of the statistics that show agriculture is a dangerous occupation, but with planning and a written guideline every farm/ranch can become a safer place to work.
The MT Ag Safety Program offers safety seminars, on-farm safety assessments, and assistance in developing written safety plans for individual farm/ranch operations. For more information contact Gene Surber 406-581-3162, or Les Graham 406-580-2919.