ASSE Urges Farmers to Work Safely

The sector's fatality rate in 2009 was 24.7 per 100,000 workers, and an average of 243 farm workers suffer lost-time injuries each day, ASSE said.

Saying the U.S. agriculture sector had a fatality rate of 24.7 per 100,000 workers in 2009, according to CDC, the American Society of Safety Engineers offered safety and health tips to farmers and farm workers during National Farm Safety and Health Week (Sept. 18-25). The harvest season is approaching, and ASSE said workers and employers should be careful to avoid injuries, fatalities, and illnesses. Young farmers are at higher risk of injury, ASSE said.

CDC stats for 2009 indicate about 1,783,000 full-time workers were employed in the agriculture industry in the United States, with 440 farmers and farm workers dying from work-related injuries that year. An average of 243 agricultural workers suffer lost-time injuries daily, with 5 percent of them resulting in permanent impairments, according to BLS, and tractor overturns account for more than 90 deaths annually.

ASSE Agriculture Practice Specialty Chair Mike Wolf, president of the Chesapeake Chapter of ASSE, reminds us that agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries in the United States. "Farming is the only industry that regularly has young workers and children present, and it is critical that everyone working in or around farms is aware of the risks, hazards, and ways to avoid injury and illness in these types of settings," he said. "Installing rollover protection on tractors and ensuring all farm workers and children are educated on farm safety practices is critical to reducing farm-related fatalities."

Rollover protection structures (ROPS) and seat belts are keys for reducing the risk of dying in tractor rollovers.risk when it comes to tractor fatalities. OSHA has issued several large fines in connection with grain handling fatalities in the past two years and has urged that segment of the industry to take safety seriously.

For more information about grain handling safety, visit http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/grainhandling/index.html. Farm safety and health tips and safety tips for young workers are posted at www.asse.org/newsroom, and the ASSE Practice Specialty Agricultural Branch's information is available at www.asse.org/practicespecialties/ag-safety.

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