The title of a recent Politico article read, “Your farm is trying to kill you.” Its subtitle shed further light on where this story was headed by saying, “Far from a bucolic idyll, farming in America is one of its most dangerous professions. And almost no one is trying to change that.”
It’s the topic many people in agriculture don’t like to or don’t know how to talk about: farm safety.
In the meantime, the statistics show agriculture trails behind every other industry when it comes to safety.
Data from the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety back up the article’s claims. Released in March 2017, the Center’s fact sheet shows that from 2003 to 2010, among workers younger than 16 years of age, fatalities in agriculture were consistently higher than in all nonagriculture industries combined.
This in part can be explained by the greater number of young people who work in agriculture but also by the dangers of daily tasks, especially if the young person is not responsible and well trained.
The 2017 Fact Sheet shows that every three days a child dies in an agriculture-related incident, and every day 33 children are injured in such incidents.
The leading causes of these injuries and fatalities are machinery at 25 percent, motor vehicles or ATVs at 17 percent, and drowning at 16 percent.
The statistics don’t improve as farm workers age. The Politico article reports that 22 of every 100,000 farmers die in work-related accidents making the career twice as dangerous as police work.
Bear in mind as we discuss safety that although we as an industry don’t enjoy the scrutiny, we can benefit from it if positive changes are made.