When you think Harvest, do you also think Safety?

Sep 09, 2014

If a farmer gets hurt, what’s the impact to the bottom line?

By Denise Faguy, Farms.com

“Safety Counts: Protecting what Matters” is the theme of the 2014 National Farm Safety and Health Week, which will be held September 21 to 27 at Agricultural Centers throughout the US.

“The theme underscores the importance of us all working together to build a safer and healthier agricultural work place,” said Scott Heiberger, U.S. Ag Centers spokesman.

Getting farmers to think about safety is challenging. As we all know, most farms (80%) are small businesses with less than 10 employees. Besides the obvious concerns farmers should have for their own safety and long-term health, the monetary impact of accidents can also be significant for a farmer. In one study by the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, the average direct cost to a farmer for an on-farm injury was just under $3500; plus lost work time. Those farmers who worked with livestock seemed to have a higher incidence of injury.

Injury Statistics from the study:

  • Operator injuries: 8.4 %
  • 56% of injuries required the farmer to seek medical attention
  • 9% resulted with a stay in hospital
  • Average Insurance paid: $7085

In another study by the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health in 2012-2013, farmers identified 38 farm hazards including machine/equipment. These included “owner take off hazards, lawn mowers, tractors, machine shops, storage structures, confined spaces, animal handling, pesticide exposure, lifting heavy objects, hearing loss, musculoskeletal problems, respiratory disorders, and stress.”

To address some of these safety concerns the Centers have turned to social media to get the message out and to provide resources for farmers, where there are both English and French version videos on everything from Pesticide Safety to Tractor & Machinery Safety to Livestock Safety. http://www.necasag.org/

Check out their YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/USagCenters

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