NATIONAL FARM SAFETY WEEK TIME FOR SAFETY EDUCATION
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- How safe are you on your farm or ranch? According to the National Safety Council, during the past year there were 715 deaths and 80,000 disabling injuries attributed to agriculture.
This year, the council will recognize National Farm Safety and Health Week Sept. 21-27. The week is dedicated to the well-being of America's farmers and ranchers.
The Farm Bureau Safety and Health Network sponsors a national safety week every spring. Its educational efforts, coupled with those of the National Safety Council each fall, reach farm and ranch families at two key times of the year--planting and harvest.
There are currently many local events taking shape to spread the safety message to farm and ranch families. According to Ellen Culver, program director of farm safety at the Illinois Farm Bureau, "A number of county Farm Bureaus in Illinois are taking advantage of harvest to provide safety messages to farmers at grain elevators and implement dealers. Others have set farm safety as the theme for presentations to school children," she said.
Some Farm Bureaus in Illinois are targeting producers by placing scarecrows with safety messages at local elevators and alongside rural roads. Others are giving producers safety treats printed with messages such as "Don't be a Butterfinger when it comes to farm safety," and "Safe Farmers make Jolly Ranchers."
Since children especially are at risk for farm-related injuries, many Farm Bureaus are focusing on talking directly to school students about farm safety.
For example, the Edgar County Farm Bureau in Paris, Ill., recently provided a safety day camp for high school agriculture students to learn about safety awareness, such as personal protective equipment, first on the scene rescue, ATV safety, spotting methamphetamine production sites, and first aid for limb injuries. Further, the Cass-Morgan County Farm Bureau in Jacksonville, Ill., is using safety on and off the farm as the theme to talk to 300 fourth grade students in 11 schools during National Farm Safety and Health Week.
Other Farm Bureaus are reaching out directly to parents to talk about child safety on the farm. The American Farm Bureau's goal is that further educating adults about reducing risks to the children in their care will prevent many farm and ranch injuries and deaths amongst agriculture's most important crop...our kids.
There are many factors to consider when it comes to farm safety, such as hearing, skin, lung and vision protection. Safeguarding measures like putting rollover bars on tractors, wearing goggles and applying sun block all play important roles in a producer's well-being on the farm.
To learn more about how you can play it safe on the farm, check out the Farm Safety and Health Week Web site at: www.nsc.org/necas/HealthWeek2008.aspx.
Tracy Taylor Grondine is director of media relations for the American Farm Bureau.