This month, COUNTRY Financial joins the National Education Center for Agriculture Safety (NECAS) and other organizations across the country to raise awareness of the risks associated with working in agriculture and promoting safe and healthy practices through the harvest season and beyond.
The agricultural sector is still the most dangerous in America with 574 fatalities, which equals 23.4 deaths per 100,000 workers, according to 2018 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For this reason, the third week of September has been recognized as National Farm Safety and Health Week. This annual promotion initiated by the National Safety Council has been proclaimed as such by each sitting U.S. president since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944. National Farm Safety and Health Week is led by the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS), the agricultural partner of the National Safety Council.
“Farmers face many dangerous situations throughout the year, not the least of which is maneuvering large equipment from field to field throughout the harvest season,” said Eric Vanasdale, loss control supervisor for COUNTRY Financial. “It’s up to all of us to ensure safe roadways. Rural motorists are encouraged to give themselves a few extra minutes for travel during the harvest season so they can slow down to keep our farmers and families safe. It is easy to miscalculate the equipment’s slower speed as you approach it on the road in a faster moving vehicle.”
National Farm Safety and Health Week runs from Sept. 20-26 with daily themes to accompany the general safety theme.
- Monday - Tractor Safety/Rural Roadway Safety
- Tuesday – Overall Farmer Health
- Wednesday - Safety & Health for Youth in Agriculture
- Thursday – Emergency Preparedness in Agriculture
- Friday – Safety & Health for Women in Agriculture
Safety tips for farmers
1. Keep SMV signs, lights, and the body of farm vehicles clean. Dirt or debris can cover these safety features which lowers equipment visibility. Also, depositing anything on the road that obstructs traffic is illegal and dangerous.
2. Travel in farm vehicles at low traffic times when possible. Roads are typically busiest on weekdays when people are traveling to and from work.
3. Continue to be observant. As always, be aware and attentive when driving. Distracted driving is just as dangerous in farm vehicles as it is in regular vehicles.
Safety tips for drivers
1. Find the lights on farm vehicles. Farm vehicles are required to have amber and red rear lights. The amber lights should be visible to the front and rear. They should flash as a warning to other motorists.
2. Slow down as soon as you see a farm vehicle. Most farm equipment only travels 15 to 20 miles per hour, so it is crucial to slow down before it is too late.
3. Be cognizant of the time of year. Harvest season typically runs from September through November. Drivers should expect to see farm vehicles on the road during this time.
The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety, www.necasag.org, offers safety and rescue training programs for a variety of topics and provides webinars to increase awareness for agricultural safety.
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