The theme for National Farm Safety and Health Week 2020 is “Every Farmer Counts”. The theme is to acknowledge, celebrate, and uplift America’s farmers and ranchers who have encountered many challenges over the past couple of years, yet continue to work hard to provide the food, fiber, and fuel that we need.
According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, there are about 3.4 million agricultural producers in America, which is only about one percent of our population. These farmers and ranchers not only provide the essentials that we need, but they do wonderful things for their families and friends, their communities, and beyond. That is why “Every Farmer Counts” and now is the time to prioritize their safety and health.
The National Education Center for Agriculture Safety (NECAS at www.necasag.org) and other organizations across the country look to raise awareness of the risks associated with working in agriculture and promoting safe and healthy practices through the harvest season and beyond.
The 2018 data for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the agricultural sector is still the most dangerous in America with 574 fatalities, or an equivalent of 23.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. Fall harvest time can be one of the busiest and most dangerous seasons of the year for the agriculture industry.
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.
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:
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.
Travel in farm vehicles at low traffic times when possible. Roads are typically busiest on weekdays when people are traveling to and from work.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Information about NECAS is available at www.necasag.org.