Pennsylvania Celebrates 'Farm Safety & Health Week'

As thousands of Pennsylvania's farmers head to the fields for the fall harvest, Governor Edward G. Rendell has proclaimed Sept. 16-22 "Farm Safety and Health Week" in Pennsylvania.

"Farming is a hazardous but essential job, requiring long hours to produce the food, fuel and, fiber that contribute to the well-being of all Pennsylvanians," Rendell said. "So that agriculture may continue to be the leading industry, we must recognize the hazards associated with farming and work together to reduce the risks."

In 2006, farming accounted for 23 fatalities in Pennsylvania, five of which were children under age 9. Each year, more than 3,000 farm-related injuries are reported in the state, while an estimated 12,000 may go unreported. Pennsylvania plays an active role in educating farmers about farm safety issues to prevent accidents and fatalities and is one of only two states with a Farm Safety & Occupational Health Act.

The state's Department of Agriculture supports farm safety day camps for youth and adults; the Farm Safety Quiz Bowl, which helps youth develop interest in farm safety issues; the PA Ag Rescue program, which offers rescue training for its first responders and farm families; and the PA Agromedicine Program for the development of new curricula for teaching farm safety. The department also sponsors the national Farm Safety 4 Just Kids program.

Children and youth day will be observed Sept. 19, recognizing the importance of on-farm youth safety with the theme, "It's easier to bury a tradition than a child," promoting the message that children younger than 12 years old should not be on or near tractors or dangerous areas even with adult supervision.

For a list of farm safety tips or more information about the department's farm safety programs, contact Phil Pitzer at 717-772-5206 or visit http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us and click on 'Producers.'

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