LITTLE ROCK — Across the country, Farm Bureaus are making safety a top priority this spring through the Agricultural Safety Awareness Program (ASAP). As a part of ASAP, March 4-10 has been designated as Agricultural Safety Awareness Week.
This year’s theme, “Agricultural Safety: Your Best Investment,” emphasizes making farms and ranches safer for farmers, their family members and employees, with special emphasis on children.
People of all ages, but particularly children, are at risk of injuries on the farm. Educating adults about reducing risks to the children in their care is critical to preventing farm and ranch incidents and fatalities.
“Most farmers have at least tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours invested in their land, equipment, and animals,” said Jason Kaufman, safety coordinator for Arkansas Farm Bureau. “It’s important they invest some of their time and money toward safety to protect their farm, employees and family.”
According to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Every day, 243 agricultural workers suffer lost-work-time injury. Five percent of these injuries result in permanent impairment. That equates to 12 workers daily who sustain injuries resulting in permanent disabilities. Approximately 1,783,000 full-time workers were employed in production agriculture in the U.S. in 2009. During this same year, 440 farmers and farm workers died from a work-related injury for a fatality rate of 24.7 deaths per 100,000 workers. Of the leading sources of fatal injuries to youth on U.S. farms, 23 percent involved machinery (including tractors), 19 percent involved motor vehicles (including ATVs) and 16 percent were due to drowning. Between 1992 and 2009, 9,003 farmers and farm workers died from work-related injuries in the U.S. The leading cause of death for these workers was tractor overturns, accounting for more than 90 deaths annually. The most effective way to prevent tractor-overturn deaths is the use of a Roll-Over Protective Structure (ROPS). In 2006, only 59 percent of tractors used on U.S. farms were equipped with ROPS. If ROPS were placed on all tractors used on U.S. farms manufactured since the mid-1960s, the prevalence of ROPS-equipped tractors could be increased to over 80 percent.
These statistics emphasize the reason why, during Ag Safety Awareness Week and throughout the year, state Farm Bureaus are focused on making farms and ranches safer for farmers, their family members and employees. To accomplish this, Arkansas Farm Bureau has two full-time safety coordinators on staff.
“The safety coordinators at Arkansas Farm Bureau are dedicated to educating Arkansans about safety concerns,” said coordinator Amanda Williams. “Some of the programs offered include Farm/Tractor Safety, ATV Safety, Distracted Driving Prevention, and Drinking and Driving Prevention.”
For more information, visit the “Programs & Activities” section of Arkansas Farm Bureau’s website, www.arfb.com.