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Released: September 03, 2003

Farm Safety and Health Week is September 21-27

MANHATTAN, Kan. – “Secure Your Farming Future Through Safety and Health” is the theme for the 60th observance of National Farm Safety and Health Week, Sept. 21-27, 2003. The event, sponsored by the National Safety Council, is designed to focus national attention on the importance of protecting the lives and livelihoods of farmers.

In 2002, according to the National Safety Council, agriculture had the second highest rate of deaths from unintentional injuries of any industry. The rate was 21 deaths per 100,000 workers, which is more than five times higher than the national average for all industry at 3.6 deaths per 100,000 workers. In addition to the high death rate, more than 150,000 farmers and farm workers suffered disabling injuries in 2002. The direct and indirect costs of injury in agriculture each year is more than $5 billion.

Facts About Farm
Safety Issues
Agriculture Deaths Creep Upward in 2002

MANHATTAN, Kan. – In observance of Farm Safety and Health Week Sept. 21-27, sponsored by the National Safety Council, Kansas State University Research and Extension encourages farmers and ranchers to assess their work situation and keep these things in mind:

* Work fatalities in agriculture rose 2 percent in 2002, while the average across all industries fell by 3 percent. Among all industries, agriculture ranked second behind the mining/quarrying industry, with 21 fatalities per 100,000, workers or approximately 730 deaths.

* Tractor incidents remain the number one cause of death in agriculture. A majority of operator fatalities are caused by tractors overturning without rollover protection and the all-important seat belt. Safety specialists estimate that non-rollover protected tractors account for nearly 50 percent of all farm tractors in use across the nation. Other farm tractor-related fatalities result from victims being run over by tractors, highway collisions between tractors and other vehicles, and fires during equipment refueling.

* Extra riders on tractors can also become victims. The council urges farmers to never allow extra riders on tractors and self-propelled machinery. Also use an extra ounce of prevention by checking the area around the tractor before putting it in motion. Young family members may be close by, but out of sight and in danger of serious injury if hit or run over by the driver.

Source: National Safety Council and Kansas State University Research and Extension

“During National Farm Safety and Health Week, we want to thank Kansas farmers for the hard work they do and to remind them that there is always a need to work more safely,” said John Slocombe, project director for the K-State Research and Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Program and the Kansas AgrAbility Project. “K-State Research and Extension has two safety-oriented projects that focus on assisting farmers, farm employees and farm family members.”

“Our Ag Safety and Health Program focuses efforts on youth and supports county extension agents with Hazardous Occupation Training - often referred to as Tractor Safety Training - as well as other types of farm safety educational programming.

“The Kansas AgrAbility Project works directly with farmers, farm employees, and farm family members who have any type of disability. The goal of Kansas AgrAbility is to assist farmers with modifications to safely accommodate their disability in their specific farming operation,” Slocombe said. “We focus a lot of attention on farm safety through both of our projects,” he added.

More information about each of the K-State programs is available at their Web sites. The Ag Safety and Health Program web site is www.ksre.ksu.edu/agsafety and the Kansas AgrAbility Web site is www.ksre.ksu.edu/agrability.

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K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by:
Kerri Ebert, Communications Assistant
kebert@ksu.edu
K-State Research& Extension News

Additional Information:
Kerri Ebert is at 785-532-2976 and John Slocombe is at 785-532-2906