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Farm Safety and Health Week, Sept. 18

COUNTRY Financial Helping Craft National Safety Guidelines for Ag Youth

Sept. 16, 2016

This week and every week, COUNTRY Financial raises awareness of the health and safety risks America’s farmers face. Every year, more than 12,000 youth are hurt in an agriculture related incident – even more adults add to the devastatingly high numbers. That’s why National Farm Safety and Health Week is focusing on “Farm Safety – A Legacy to Be Proud Of.”

“The number of young people who are injured or killed each year in agriculture-related accidents is upsetting,” said Eric Vanasdale, senior loss control representative at COUNTRY Financial. “No one wants to see the life of a child lost, especially when precautions could’ve been taken to decrease the risk of having an accident.”

The numbers

Statistics surrounding the number of child deaths related to the industry are startling for those younger than 18. The National Children’s Center for Rural and Agriculture Health and Safety reports:

  • Close to 893,000 youth lived on farms in 2014. 
  • Around 33 children are hurt in an ag-related incident every day.

“America’s ag workers don’t just work on farms,  many  live on these homesteads,” said Vanasdale. “Their kids work alongside them, putting them at risk of being hurt or killed.”

The leading sources of ag-related child deaths:  

  • 25 percent involve machinery    
  • 17 percent involve motor vehicles (including ATV’s)
  • 16 percent involve drowning

Changes are coming

COUNTRY Financial helps increase farm safety awareness for youth through its partnership with the Marshfield Clinic’s North American Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks. Together, we’re updating safety guidelines for youth to tailor them to today’s industry hazards.

The guidelines cover the following topics and many more:

  • Working with large animals       
  • Driving a farm tractor      
  • Farmwork with an ATV

The recommendations help parents and employers who supervise children working on their operations. They provide a greater understanding of the physical and cognitive abilities for children of all ages.

Ways to stay safe

To help increase farm safety awareness , COUNTRY Financial developed the video, “Take Care Out There,” which illustrates the dangers farmers face on a daily basis. The video can be shared on Facebook and retweeted on Twitter @helloCOUNTRY.

Farmers, including youth, should consider taking the following safety precautions when working on the farm, in the fields or on the roadways:

  • Get plenty of rest and take frequent breaks.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and keep healthy snacks on hand. Fatigue increases accident risks.
  • Know how prescriptions and over the counter medications affect reaction time.
  • Some medications and machinery do not mix. Consult your doctor if  medications impair your ability to safely operate  equipment.
  • Tell family and helping hands where you’ll be working and when. Also, keep a cell phone with  you at all times in case of emergencies or accidents.
  • Avoid driving machinery on roads at dawn and dusk. Most accidents happen during these times. They’re also peak commuting times for other drivers.
  • Maintain your equipment. Most farm accidents and deaths involve machinery. Make sure it’s maintained according to the manufacturers’ recommendations.
  • Know your limitations. Don't push your mind and body past safe and healthy limits.

“Sometimes equipment sits for months at a time. Farmers should consider reviewing their manuals and inspecting their equipment lights to make sure turn signals, flashers and lights work properly,” said Vanasdale. “Safety reflective tape and slow-moving vehicle emblems should also be cleaned so they’re more visible to drivers.”