American farmers are spending most of their day in the field, especially this time of year. Harvesting time is a busy period in a farmer’s life. This is the season that rewards the farmer for his green thumb and his months of hard work. Harvest time isn’t always about reaping the benefits; there are many risks that come along with it.
As the famer gives a big portion of his day to the crops, he makes himself more vulnerable to stress, pressure, fatigue and even the risk of injury.
It’s not that unusual to hear about farmers losing their life or getting seriously injured in a agriculture-related incident. Farmers agree that such mishaps can happen so quickly, the victim hardly gets time to react.
With increased production demands, the deadline for farmers is becoming tougher to achieve. Farmers are having to work harder and longer to meet these demands, putting them at an increased risk for an accident.
- Out of 335,000 annual workplace deaths, more than 50% are agricultural, reports International Labor Organization.
- In the United States, agriculture continues ranking first as the deadliest industry in America.
- Another study reveled that one-third of workplace fatalities reported in Iowa between 2001 and 2011 were agricultural.
- Between 1991 and 2011, there have been more than 340 deaths and nearly 5,000 hospitalizations reported in Saskatchewan only.
- Canadian fatalities related to agriculture amounted to 1,975 between 1990 and 2008. About 70% of these casualties were related to machinery.
- Hundreds of Kenyan farmers die every year because of fungus and toxic fumes while Swedish fall victim to livestock accidents.
- The causes among these deaths were found to be tractor rollovers, deadly fumes, electrocution, cattle rollovers, grain suffocation, and heatstroke. But tractors are by far the leading cause of deaths.
In The End
Farming accidents are something that hit the local farming community hard. But the issue is rarely discussed outside of those farming communities, but it has managed to draw some attention over the past few years.
More and more equipment is being equipped with safety devices; grain bins are now being equipped with harnesses and tractors with ROPS (roll-over protection system) and dead-man switches. Events are being held to give farmers a heads-up, safety lectures are being delivered and voluntary health inspection and farm audits are being carried out.
Maintaining safety during harvest is vital, but it can be challenging nonetheless. According to statisticians and researchers, this is the time where most deaths and injuries occur. They believe that staying sharp and attentive holds the key to fast, efficient and most importantly a safe harvest.
Farmers are advised to stay alert, avoid loose clothing, avoid dehydration, maintain a healthy diet, use machinery with utmost precaution, complete routine maintenance on implements, get enough sleep, and most importantly, stay sharp.
And please remember to share the road with farmers this harvest season!
This post brought to you by AECO Agriculture.