It is no surprise that farming is one of the most dangerous occupations. A number of factors, including noise, heavy machinery, animals, machine parts that rotate, cut and pinch, and long hours all contribute to this fact.
With the spring planting season approaching (assuming the snow stops, the rain ends and the ground dries) it’s important to think about working safely.
Over the last 10 years, there have been 254 agricultural fatalities in Ohio. In 2006, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 27 people lost their lives in agricultural related accidents.
Not surprising, the majority of these fatalities were during May and June when planting operations were under way.
While there is a decline after the planting season, fatalities during this 10-year period were also high during the summer hay-making season and the fall harvest season.
Of the 254 fatalities in the 10-year period, 90 people from 41 to 60 years of age were victims. People age 61 to 70 accounted for 41 deaths and 34 people age 71 to 80 lost their lives.
Of the 254 people who died in farm accidents, nearly half involved a tractor. Fifty-nine percent of the tractor accidents were caused by a roll over and 22 percent of the fatalities were caused by being run over by a tractor.
How can you prevent yourself from becoming a tractor accident statistic? In addition to reviewing the tractor owner’s manual and being familiar with the tractor you are operating, the following nine points should be followed:
If you are planning to hire student employees there are several important considerations you need to be aware of related to equipment operation.
Unless a child ages 14-15 has successfully completed a certification course, they are not allowed to operate any of the following:
This is not an exhaustive list and does not address other important points about employment of minors. For specific questions about employment of youth in agriculture, contact your local county extension office or the Ohio Division of Labor.
As you think about working safely with tractors and other farm equipment remember the Eight Points of Peril:
Remembering and following these points each time you work with a tractor or other piece of equipment will help keep you safe.
When using pesticides it is important to remember that the label is the law. One of the things the label will tell you is what personal protective equipment must be worn when using the product.
At a minimum, the label will tell you to wear long pants, long sleeve shirt, eye protection and gloves. However, not all gloves are the same and, unless the label says so, it is not recommended you use cotton gloves or rubber gloves with a cotton lining. These materials tend to absorb pesticides easily.
Instead, use rubber gloves and follow the label directions for specific instructions about the type to use depending on the product you are working with.
A recent university study evaluating the effectiveness of wearing gloves when handling pesticides found significant reductions in pesticide exposure when gloves were properly used.
For example, researchers in this study evaluated the effectiveness of gloves when using 2,4-D. Researchers were able to detect 2,4-D at nearly 250 parts per billion on those who did not wear gloves while handling the product.
By comparison, researchers detected much lower levels (less than 50 parts per billion) of 2,4-D on those who did wear gloves.
Prepare now for the busy planting season ahead and keep in mind these basic farm safety tips.
Have a successful spring.