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Posted in on Mon, Mar 6, 2006

DES PLAINES, IL (March 6, 2006) – Supporting the national Agricultural Safety Awareness Program Week this March 5-11, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is providing farm-related safety and health tips to help reduce the number of agricultural injuries and illnesses that occur each year.

“Many tragedies occurring on farms can be prevented by taking the proper measures. Farm hazards can be identified and corrected by utilizing a farm hazard checklist,” said ASSE Director of Member/Region Affairs and agriculture safety specialist Dr. Terry Wilkinson. “We urge farmers to contact their state or local Cooperative Extension or Farm Bureau office, which provide programs such as farm safety camps, resources, training, and more aimed at preventing farm-related injuries.”

There were 659 workplace fatalities for the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industries in 2004, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Most farm-related accidents are caused by machinery, with tractor accidents accounting for a high rate of fatalities. Agriculture is also the most dangerous industry for young workers.

“Farmers should familiarize themselves with the equipment operator’s manual, the best source for information for preventing tractor and farm equipment-related injuries and fatalities,” added Wilkinson. “Conducting regular equipment inspections can also help prevent farm-related injuries by detecting and fixing equipment problems before use.”

In an effort to assist the farming community, ASSE offers these following safety tips:
• Develop an awareness of hazards on the farm and prepare for emergency situations including machinery entanglements, fires, vehicle accidents, electrical shocks from equipment, and adverse health effects from chemical exposures.
• Reduce the risk of injury and illness with preventive measures. Read and follow instructions in equipment operator’s manuals. Follow instructions on product labels for safe use, handling, and storage.
• Conduct routine inspections of your equipment to determine problems and potential failures that may contribute to or cause an accident. Properly maintain tools, buildings, and equipment.
• Conduct meetings with employees and family members to assess safety hazards, discuss potential accident situations, and outline emergency procedures.

• Provide approved Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS). Use seat belts while the tractor is in operation on tractors equipped with a ROPS.
• Make sure guards for farm equipment are put back on after maintenance to protect workers from moving machinery parts.
• Review material safety data sheets and labels that come with all chemical products.
• Communicate information concerning hazards to all workers. Prevent pesticide poisonings and dermatitis caused by chemicals by ensuring that protective measures recommended on the labels are taken.
• Take the necessary precautions to prevent entrapment and suffocation caused by unstable surfaces of grain storage bins, silos, wagons and other storage structures.
• Be aware that methane gas, carbon dioxide, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide can be present in unventilated grain silos and manure pits in quantities sufficient to cause asphyxiation or explosion.
• Farmers are at great risk of contracting respiratory problems due to the amount of dust and chemicals they breathe in on a daily basis. Wearing protective equipment, which is readily available, can prevent acute and chronic respiratory illnesses. Protective equipment such as mechanical filters and chemical cartridge masks are air-purifying respirators that help protect lungs from harmful gases and dusts.

As most farms do not fall under the auspices of OSHA rules and regulations, ASSE urges parents to train young farmers well in all aspects of farming, including safety. Nearly two million children live and/or work on farms, and on average more than 100 children die every year from farm-related accidents. Young farmers can enroll in a local farm safety camp, often sponsored by the local County Extension Service, a university, or Farm Bureau. To assist young workers and their parents, ASSE developed a free brochure titled “Workplace Safety Guide for New Workers” available at, which provides tips on how young workers and parents can identify workplace hazards.
Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the oldest and largest professional safety society and is dedicated to protecting people, property and the environment. Its 30,000 members manage, supervise, and consult on safety, health, and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor and education.

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