The week of Sept. 18-24 has been designated National Farm Safety Week, which is very good timing as we enter full-scale fall harvest for the 2011 growing season. Farm Safety Week is a good time for farm families to review farm safety procedures. More farm accidents occur during the fall than at any other time of the year, and usually involve one or more farm family members. Special care should be taken with children and senior citizens around farm and grain-handling equipment, as these groups are the most vulnerable to farm accidents.
Federal and state statistics list farming as one of the most dangerous professions in the U.S. According to Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry data, 23 of the 69 work-related deaths in the state in 2010 involved the agriculture industry. There were 121 traffic accidents involving tractors and farm machinery in 2010, resulting in 19 injuries and two deaths.
The non-farm public also needs to pay extra attention when driving on rural roads during harvest season, especially before and after work or school. Farm vehicles are larger and move much slower than cars, and the Autumn sun is usually in a bad position during the times of heaviest traffic in the mornings and late afternoon on rural roads throughout the fall season. The best advice is to slow down, pay attention and stay off cell phones while driving.
For more details on fall farm and rural safety tips, go to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture website.
Editor’s note: Kent Thiesse is a former University of Minnesota Extension educator and now is Vice President of MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. You can contact him at 507-726-2137 or via e-mail at email@example.com.