National Farm Safety and Health Week is this week, Sept. 15-21. This annual promotional week commemorates the hard work and sacrifices made by our nation’s farmers and ranchers. This year’s theme is “Shift Farm Safety into High Gear.”
The theme is one that resonates and reminds us that it is everyone’s responsibility to prioritize safety on the farm and the rural roadways of America. The 2017 data for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the agricultural sector is still the most dangerous in America with 581 fatalities, which equals 23.0 deaths per 100,000 workers. This is far ahead of transportation (15.1/100,000) and mining (12.9/100,000). In addition, mental health issues and high rates of farmer suicide have been shaking up rural America and garnering recent attention in the media.
Each year since 1944, the third week of September has been recognized as National Farm Safety and Health Week. This recognition has been an annual promotion initiated by the National Safety Council and has been proclaimed as such by each sitting U.S. President since Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the first document. As we recognize National Farm Safety & Health Week this week, please join in promoting safe and healthy practices on our farms and ranches across the U.S. as producers enter the harvest season. The website necasag.org/nationalfarmsafetyandhealthweek/ has details on a series of webinars this week. All webinars will last one hour and arefree and open to the public. This site also has several good videos that covers safety related topics on Tractor, PTO, Rural Roads, Grain Bin, ATV, Auger, Anhydrous Ammonia, Sun, Fatigue, Dust, Chainsaw, Farm Emergency Preparedness, Loading and Unloading Trailers, Child Safety on the Farm and others.
Nebraska Extension has developed a listing of resources called “Staying Connected During Tough Times,” that has the phone numbers of several organizations that are available to assist at times when you are feeling stressed.
There is also a Farm Safety website, “Telling the Story,” which features firsthand accounts by farmers who have been injured or who have lost family members to agriculture-related incidents. The website, Tellingthestoryproject.org provides a venue for farmers who have been impacted by fatal and non-fatal agricultural workplace injuries to share their experiences and offer insight for injury prevention.
While we celebrate National Farm Safety and Health weekeach year in September, we need to always keep safety in mind throughout the year. An accident is the last thing farmers or others want to deal with.