National Farm Safety and Health Week runs September 19-25. This year’s theme is ‘Farm Safety Yields Real Results.’
Harvest season can be particularly dangerous for farmers with long hours and stress of weather delays, equipment breakdowns or high operating costs, and National Farm Safety and Health Week reinforces the importance of working together to ensure farmers make it home safely to their families at night.
The 2019 data for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the agricultural sector is still the most dangerous in America with 573 fatalities, or an equivalent of 23.1 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.
“Farmers are notorious for their work ethic and determination, both qualities that also can be a detriment when it comes to safety,” said Kerry Wienke, executive director with Vermilion County Farm Bureau. “While farm safety is top of mind every week for farmers, their families and their employees, National Farm Safety and Health Week is an opportunity to spotlight safety reminders that keep those both inside and outside the agriculture industry aware and mindful during the busy harvest season.”
For more information about National Farm Safety and Health Week, visit www.necasag.org.
Simple Road Safety Steps 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.
Simple Road Safety Steps for Other 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 and the orange SMV emblem. 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.