Five Strategies for a Safer Summer on Farms and Ranches in the CS-CASH1 Region

U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) data for 2007-2010 and records of over 125 press clippings about deaths in production agriculture from the summers of 2007 through 2011 suggest five strategies for a safer summer on farms and ranches in the CS-CASH7-state region (IA, KS, MN, MO, ND, NE, and SD):

  • Prevent overturns and prefer ROPS-equipped tractors for mowing and roadside maintenance;
  • Practice safe transport of farm equipment and watch for it when you drive a motor vehicle;
  • Secure raised loads, equipment and parts that can move or shift during repair or maintenance;
  • Shut-off power to all moving machinery before going near it;
  • Stay out of flowable materials that can entrap and engulf a person.

Analysis of annual data compiled from the U.S. DoL Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries2 for 2007-2010 (2011 data not available) show transportation incidents were the leading fatality event; they accounted for over 50% of 561 production agriculture deaths in the region during the 4-year period.  Being struck, caught in or compressed by equipment or objects, or in collapsing materials, contributed to 35% of the deaths.  Falls and exposures to harmful substances or environments each added 4% to the toll.  Attacks by animals plus self-inflicted injuries caused 5%.  Only 1% of the deaths in production agriculture in the CS-CASH 7-state region from 2007 through 2010 were the result of fires or explosions.

The first key strategy for the region continues to be preventing overturns (whether on an ATV, tractor, or other self-propelled machine) and protecting the operator with rollover protection and seat belt.

The 280-plus fatal transportation incidents were split two-thirds non-highway and one-third highway.  The non-highway category was nearly 90% non-collision events, of which over 70% (109 of 151) were overturns.  A sample of fatalities from the Farm and Agricultural Injury Monitoring Service3 can be found in table 1 (PDF).

Included in the highway incidents (83 of 280) are collisions, crashes with stationary objects, and non-collision incidents.  Examples can be found in table 2 (PDF).

Many collision deaths involve trucking commodities by persons employed on farms and ranches.  Collisions between “farm-equipment-other-than-trucks” and motor vehicles, however, (about 700 per year in the CS-CASH region4) do not add greatly to the death toll for production agriculture since there are few fatal collisions between “farm-equipment-other-than-trucks” and motor vehicles, and most often those fatally injured were occupants of the motor vehicle, not performing production agricultural work at the time.  Safer transport is, nevertheless, a key strategy because it’s important for agricultural producers AND the motoring public which also includes farmers, ranchers, farm workers and their family members operating motor vehicles.

Fatal contact with objects or equipment (187 of 561 deaths) was 3/6ths “struck by”, 2/6ths “caught in or compressed”, and 1/6th “collapsing materials”.  Securing raised loads (like objects in loader buckets and round bales in front-end bale handlers) as well as blocking or otherwise securing equipment and portions of it that can shift or fall during maintenance or repair is another key strategy.  Examples of incidents can be found in table 3 (PDF).

Many incidents also illustrate the importance of shutting off power to moving machinery before approaching and potentially becoming entangled in it.  Not only is it vital to stay out of moving machinery, it is also critically important to stay out of confined spaces without proper training, equipment, and personnel, and out of materials like grain that can give way, avalanche or flow entrapping and engulfing a person in seconds.  More examples can be found in table 4 (PDF).

Producers and others are working toward a safer summer for those engaged in production agricultural activities on our region’s farms and ranches.  These 5 strategies can help meet that goal:

  • Prevent overturns and prefer ROPS-equipped tractors for mowing and roadside maintenance;

For information on rollover protection available for your tractors, refer to “Your Guide for Available Retrofit ROPS for Agricultural Tractors”.

  • Practice safe transport of farm equipment and watch for it when you drive a motor vehicle;

Contact your local equipment dealer for recommended lighting and marking for farm equipment.  For information about collisions between farm equipment and motor vehicles, visit this website and contact the CS-CASH.

For additional information on the following topics, visit the National Agricultural Safety Database

  • Secure raised loads, equipment and parts that can move or shift during repair or maintenance;
  • Shut-off power to all moving machinery before going near it;
  • Stay out of flowable materials that can entrap and engulf a person.

 About the author:

Murray D. Madsen, MBA, is an independent consulting contractor to CS-CASH at UNMC, former Associate Director for the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health, and product safety engineer for Deere & Company.  He currently maintains the FAIMS – Farm and Agricultural Injury Monitoring Service, which captures and records press clipping information from all periodicals in the region.

 

1CS-CASH (Central States – Center for Agricultural Safety and Health) is federally funded by the CDC National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health under agreement 1U54OH0101612-01.
2DoL Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.  Available at http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshstate.htm.
3FAIMS – Farm and Agricultural Injury Monitoring Service data (Press Clip Records) from the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health (GPCAH) at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA.
4FEMVCPC  Composite data (excerpts). Available at http://www.agsafetyandhealthnet.org/FE%20-%20MV%20Upper%20Midwest%20FE%20vs%20MV%20Crashes%202005-9.pdf

 

 

 


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