FarmLife Five Summer 2013: Safety

THIS ISSUE: Keeping farmers safer, protecting children and improving equipment to save lives. This web-exclusive version includes links to resources.

By Amy Bickers

DEATHS DECREASE: For those working in the U.S. in agricultural, forestry and fishing occupations, injuries and deaths have decreased 40% from 931 in 1992 to 557 in 2011. Yet these jobs still have a fatality rate eight times higher than all other industries combined. Canada is also seeing improvement in farm safety: the rate of fatalities declined 38% from 1990 through 2008.

Sources: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Program (AgFF):

Canadian Agricultural Safety Association:

EQUIPMENT AWARENESS. Seventy percent of the nearly 2,000 agricultural fatalities in Canada between 1990 and 2008 were machine-related, such as rollovers, runovers and entanglements. The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association recommends the use of Roll Over Protection Systems (ROPS) and seatbelts. U.S. research has shown the use of ROPS and seatbelts can prevent 99% of deaths due to overturning tractors.

Source: Canadian Agricultural Safety Association:

National Center for Biotechnology Information:

SAFER KIDS. In the U.S., the rate of injuries to children living on farms decreased 47% in the 12-year period between 1998 and 2009. In Canada, the number of child fatalities dropped 38%, when comparing the number of deaths occurring between 2000 and 2008 to the previous 10 years.

Sources: Canadian Agricultural Safety Association

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

DANGER AHEAD: While farm-related injuries and deaths have decreased, there’s still room for improvement. That’s why the U.S. agency NIOSH Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing [AgFF] distributed $22 million last year. The money was shared among nine regional centers across the country to promote safety programs and awareness.

Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Program (AgFF):

SAFETY PLAN. A survey found 85% of Canada’s agricultural producers believe safety is a priority. Yet only 9% have a written agricultural safety plan for their farms and ranches. Alberta’s office of Agricultural and Rural Development, in partnership with the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association, recommends such plans include tips on animal, machine and toxic material safety.

Source: Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development:$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/aet11219