It Could Happen to You: Be Safe This Harvest Season
A potato harvester crushes an Idaho worker’s leg. A New York woman is scalped when her hair becomes entangled around the secondary driveline of a hay baler and an Iowa hog farmer dies from asphyxiation after manure pit agitation.
Meanwhile, a Minnesota farmer is found dead between the bucket of a tractor and a cattle gate on his farm, while another is pinned beneath the hopper of a rock picker. And a Michigan farmer is run over by his tractor after starting the tractor while standing on the ground.
These are just a fraction of the headlines one can easily find for farming accidents across the country and within the investigative reports kept by organizations like NIOSH, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Farmers and agricultural workers deal with chemicals, pesticides, cold, dust, electricity, grain bins, hand tools, highway traffic, lifting, livestock handling, machinery/equipment, manure pits, mud, noise, ponds, silos, sun/heat, toxic gases, tractors and wells.
It’s no wonder, then, that farming is ranked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as one of America’s 10 deadliest jobs, right up there with logging, fishing, aircraft pilots, roofing, structural iron and steel work, refuse and recyclable material collectors, electrical power-line installers and repairers, truck drivers and construction laborers.
The National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries released its latest data earlier this year on the 2012 statistics. That year, 374 farmers and farm workers died from a work-related injury, resulting in a fatality rate of 20.2 deaths per 100,000 workers, or 9.1 percent of the 4,628 workers killed on the job in 2012.
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