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National Farm Safety and Health Week: Gear up for Safety PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 22 September 2011 14:55

In a typical year, 551 workers die while doing agricultural work in the United States and about 88,000 suffer lost-time injuries. Most of these incidents are preventable.

To spotlight safety in farming and ranching, the National Safety Council has designated Sept. 18 – 24th as National Farm Safety and Health Week. The theme for 2011 is “Safety Counts – Your Community Depends on It!”, reports Extension Educator Sharry Nielson.

Farming accidents happen in small-town America where everyone knows each other. The entire rural community needs to be knowledgeable about agricultural accidents and how to prevent them.

A common yet often tragic hazard during harvest is grain entrapment. Grain bin accidents continue to rise as other types of agricultural accidents have decreased.

Although Nebraska is in the minority, last year was the deadliest in decades for grain bin accidents in mid-western states, according to a recent report from Purdue University. Researchers reported 51 grain bin accidents in 2010, up from 38 in 2009. In those incidents, 25 people died, five of them children under the age of 16.

Harvest is a peak time for farm injuries and deaths. It only takes seconds for a person to become helplessly trapped in flowing grain. Automated equipment has made handling of grain easy and fast. A high-capacity conveyor can move enough grain to submerge a 6-foot tall man in only 15 seconds; but, grain storage structures and handling equipment create hazardous work areas on the farm and in the field.

Safety begins with reducing the risk of injury or entrapment. Steps you can take when working with grain include:

*Turn off augers and other power equipment before entering a bin or holding structure.

*Prohibit walking on grain.

*Use a body harness with a lifeline anytime and every time a person enters a grain bin.

*Use the buddy system – be sure there is someone outside the bin who can help if something goes wrong.

*Keep children COMPLETELY away from stored grain, whether it is in a bin, a grain wagon or a pile.

Rural communities depend on agriculture, but safety depends on all of us. As harvest begins remember that “Safety Counts – You Community Depends On It!”

For more information on farm safety contact your local UN-L Extension office or The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety on the web at UNL Extension is committed to helping Nebraskans know how—and know now.