Take extra time, make extra effort to stay safe on the farm

Monday, September 16, 2019

It’s popular to honor our military and law enforcement personnel, and with good reason.

Both groups voluntarily risk their lives in order to protect the safety and freedom of their fellow citizens.

Members of another group, however, are more likely to give their lives in order to keep their fellow citizens fed.

Statistically, farming is twice as deadly as law enforcement, five times deadlier than firefighter, and you’re much more likely to die in an agricultural accident than while serving in the military.

Those of us who grew up in farm country are aware of the dangers; most of us remember a farming missing a limb from an accident with a round baler, knew of a child who was killed by farm equipment or heard of someone who died after becoming tangled in a power takeoff shaft or trapped in a grainbin.

Despite increased emphasis on safe farming practices and safety equipment on equipment, farming can be dangerous because it requires fewer people — farmers often work alone, far from help.

Farming is always challenging, but this year’s growing and economic conditions make it easy for agricultural producers to be distracted at just the wrong time.

Each year, about 100 American farmers are killed when their tractor rolls over.

Many are killed or injured in falls from farm equipment, grain bins, ladders or buildings, or are struck by falling objects.

Others are maimed, disfigured or killed when caught in augers or PTO shafts.

We often hear of farm workers suffocated in a grain bin or silo, but others can become trapped in enclosed spaces that don’t have enough oxygen or which are contaminated with silo gas or manure gas.

Some deaths are simply unavoidable tragedies. Others could have been prevented if the piece of equipment had better warnings on its product, if a defective or dangerous device were taken out of service, if a farmer would have left a shield or other safety device in place or if workers had received proper training.

If you’re a farmer, please take the extra time and effort it takes to keep yourself, your family and any employees safe.

Watch for a special farm safety section in Thursday’s edition.

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