National Farm Safety and Health Week
September 21-27 is National Farm Safety and Health Week.
Dan Neenan, director of the National Education Center for Agriculture Safety, located in Peosta, Iowa, explains the theme, “Safety Counts: Protecting what Matters,” is about preserving the lifestyle by protecting what matters--the safety of the family and children that make up the family farm.
Before taking to public roads, farmers should make sure their equipment has sufficient lighting, reflective tape, reflectors, and a slow moving vehicle (SMV) sign.
"When you see farm equipment, you should brake immediately," says Neenan.
According to Neenan, there was a three-year downward trend of fatalities between 2010 and 2012. In 2013, there were 479 farm-related fatalities, four more than occurred in 2012.
"Farmers are renting more property and traveling frequently between farms," says Neenan. "For emergency purposes, you need to know the physical 911 address for each farm."
Neenan suggests keeping a list of farm addresses in each farm vehicle (truck, tractor, combine). That way, if an ambulance or fire truck needs to get to you right away, they are able to do so in a timely fashion.
Between 2003 and 2011, farm tractors accounted for 1,533 deaths, and tractor rollovers remain the single deadliest type of injury incident on farms in the United States.
In 2012, 59 percent of tractors used on farms in the United States were equipped with a roll over protection system (ROPS).
Remember to eat and sleep
During harvest, farmers are so busy working to feed the world that sometimes they forget to feed themselves.
"Some of them take medication that is dependent on a specific time or with food," says Neenan. "Farmers should still maintain their own health by taking a break for medication, food and sleep."
Grain bin safety
In 2010, there were 51 grain bin engulfment incidents, and a record 26 people died that year. Grain bins are particularly dangerous to children who may not understand the extent of grain bin hazards.
Pictured is an example of a grain bridge. Grain can form a crust on top, with a pocket underneath. Use a long pole to break up the grain instead of trying to walk it.
Neenan recommends having two fire extinguishers on the combine--one outside the door, and one on the other side. The National Education Center for Agriculture Safety has a first aid kit available specifically for needs of farmers.
"We created the Farm First Aid Kit with farm injuries in mind," says Neenan. "The kit comes in a Carhart-like bag, the bandages are bigger, there's four times the eye solution of a regular first aid kit, and there's a finger amputation kit."
Safety week agenda
You can visit The National Education Center for Agriculture Safety for more information about National Farm Safety and Health Week, and view the National Farm Safety and Health Week's Kickoff Agenda.
--Story compiled by Jody Korthaus, digital editor at Living the Country Life
Facts compiled by Jody Korthaus