Kentucky had 14 farm-related fatalities in 2014
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 15, 2015) — To celebrate National Farm Safety and Health Week, from Sept. 20-26, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has proclaimed that week Farm Safety and Health Week in Kentucky to raise awareness of the hazards of agriculture and encourage farmers to make ag safety part of their everyday lifestyle.
“Farmers encounter a wide variety of risks from machinery, livestock, chemicals, grain silos, and many other potential dangers,” Comer said. “A death or serious injury of a farmer hurts an entire family. Kentucky farmers can minimize the risks to themselves and their loved ones by making safety their top priority at all times.”
Farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in the nation, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Kentucky recorded 14 farming-related fatalities in 2014, compared to 22 in 2011 and 50 in 1995, according to the Kentucky Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program.
Kentucky had 116 ATV-related fatalities from 2010-2013, third in the nation behind West Virginia and Texas, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Farm & Home Safety Program travels across the state to deliver farm, ATV and lawn mower safety demonstrations. The program operates a one-of-a-kind rollover tractor simulator that demonstrates how a rollover protective structure (ROPS) and seat belt can save a tractor operator from injury or death in the event of a rollover. The program uses a miniature grain bin and gravity wagon to show the risk of becoming trapped in grain, and a power-take-off (PTO) demonstration apparatus that demonstrates the dangers of getting caught in a moving PTO, which is a rapidly rotating drive shaft used to power farm implements.
One of the biggest hazards during harvest season is farming equipment on roadways and farmers and motorists not sharing the roads, Comer said.
“That farmer driving a tractor or combine on the road is trying to make a living,” Comer said. “You can help that farmer reach his or her destination safely by slowing down and giving them plenty of room to maneuver. With an abundance of caution and cooperation, we can all keep our roadways safe.”
KDA’s Farm & Home Safety Program is commemorating Farm Safety and Health Week with “Pep Rallies for Life” at high schools across the commonwealth.
The first pep rally took place last week at Letcher County Central High School. Other events are scheduled in Fulton County on Sept. 17 and Owsley County on Sept. 22. As part of the rallies cheerleaders lead students in safety cheers, and local emergency responders treat the “victims” of a mock tractor or all-terrain vehicle accident to sharpen their skills and to demonstrate the consequences of a bad decision or a careless moment.