Farm & Ranch
COUNTRY Reports Lowest Illinois Farm Deaths in Past 35 Years
Illinois farmers have set a new farm safety record this year. Only twelve farm-related deaths occurred in Illinois from July 2012 through June 2013 --the lowest number in the 35 years that COUNTRY Financial® has been keeping records.
“We are clearly on a path to report zero farm deaths in Illinois,” says Eric Vanasdale, senior loss control representative at COUNTRY. “It’s not a coincidence that the National Farm Safety and Health Week (Sept. 15-21) theme is Working Together for Safety in Agriculture. It takes the whole team, farmers and safety organizations, to continually make Illinois farms safe.”
COUNTRY, the No. 1 insurer of Illinois farms, tracks farm-related deaths through newspaper clippings. Every year, COUNTRY reports the findings in conjunction with National Farm Safety and Health Week and the Illinois Press Association.
This year tractor runover and rollover deaths and roadway collision deaths have tied as the leading causes of farm death.
Tractor runover and rollover deaths decreased by half from eight deaths to four.
Roadway collisions deaths decreased by three, and accounted for four farm deaths.
Grain bin suffocation accounted for one death this year, which ties last year as the lowest on record. This number marks a success in wake of a 2011 National Farm Safety and Health Week campaign, which focused on preventing grain bin suffocation.
“The increased awareness and publicity offered by groups like the Grain Handling Safety Coalition certainly helped prevent accidents. A smaller and dry crop also worked in our favor last year. There weren’t many reasons for farmers to enter grain bins and break up crusted grain,” said Vanasdale, a coalition member.
The Grain Handling Safety Coalition’s mission is to prevent and reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities across the grain industry spectrum through safety education, prevention and outreach.
COUNTRY also works with Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) to promote farm safety awareness. Annually, COUNTRY sponsors county Farm Bureau Safety grants. This year, 31 counties received support for programs ranging from County Agriculture Safe days to First Responder Grain Bin training.
Earlier this year, COUNTRY teamed with IFB, Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police to promote Caution: Slow Down, Share the Road. The statewide campaign aims to keep rural motorists and farmers safe on the highway.
“We have found that most of this year’s roadway collisions happened around dusk,” Vanasdale pointed out. “Rural motorists should be extra careful in the dark, sharing the road becomes more difficult as the sun goes down.”
This year’s national effort focuses on ensuring that family members, primarily children, are kept safe around farm machinery and other equipment.
“It’s important to remember that the majority of farms in Illinois are family-owned and operated. Children, spouses and extended family members often work and live on the farm,” said Vanasdale. “It can be a dangerous place to live. Machinery and other farm items are tempting for children to play on.”
Farmers should educate their children and teach them to use proper safety precautions around machinery and livestock to avoid accidents, said Vanasdale.
“We are happy to see the decrease in farm related deaths, but our job is not finished,” concluded Vanasdale. “COUNTRY will continue teaming with other farm safety groups to ensure that farmers stay safe. Even one death is too many.”
About COUNTRY Financial
COUNTRY Financial® (www.countryfinancial.com) serves about one million households and businesses throughout the United States. It offers a full range of financial products and services from auto, home and life insurance to retirement planning services, investment management and annuities.