May 1 2012 07:34 AM

Common sense and awareness to your surroundings needs your full attention

tractor roll-over with injuryWhether it was the 15-month-old toddler who crawled in a mixer, and lost his life when the operator unknowingly turned on the equipment, or the 25-year-old with a college degree in ag mechanics, whose tractor rolled on him while discing the land he rented, the dangers are ever-present. While these stories could have been fabricated; sadly they are real incidents that happened to real farm families in eastern Pennsylvania and northwest Wisconsin just this past week.

Were they preventable? Sadly, yes. Adequate adult supervision and roll-over protection structures would have altered the outcomes. Many of us know people who have escaped would-be fatalities; sometimes by just pure luck. But, eventually, luck can run out and common sense needs to drive decision-making on the farm.

We are warned of all sorts of dangers everyday: operating motorized vehicles under the influence, texting while driving, excessive speeding, and driving with inadequate sleep. But, regrettably, some still believe in their super-human powers and invincibility and ignore these dangers. Most of us know someone who is no longer invincible due to poor judgment, whether it's amputation, paralysis, or even death. The dangers are obvious, yet go unheeded.

So, while farms are incredible places to raise a family, danger continues to be found there, too. Practice preventative measures and educate family, employees, and farm visitors of all ages. The national ag safety database website has a huge database of videos on farm safety from chemicals, grain handling, skin cancer, electrical safety, and more. Some videos are viewable at no charge, while others are available for purchase.

While we made great strides with the withdrawal of the recent legislation affecting the youth that work on farms, do not rest. Outsiders will be watching our industry even closer. Do not let them, or yourselves down. Think safety first, and don't let yourself, your family, or employees become a preventable statistic.