Lack of training is why many farmers have accidents and why farming is among the nation's most dangerous occupations, Utah State University agriculture experts say.
While the number of deaths nationwide from farm accidents fell 6 percent last year, agricultural work accidents still resulted in 1,600 deaths and 160,000 disabling injuries, according to National Safety Council figures.Darwin Jolley, USU extension agricultural engineer and machinery specialist, said most workers in America are supervised by trained people who are responsible for workers' safety and health.
"Farmers, on the other hand, of-ten work alone and without supervision and may not be trained for the challenge," he said. "Even though modern farm equipment is safer than ever, farmers often lag behind other workers in the use of personal protective equipment."
Jolley pointed out that Sept. 18-24 is National Farm Safety Week and a good time to draw attention to farm accidents and injuries.
Often working alone and in remote areas, an injured farmer may be miles and hours away from medical help, Jolley said. The extended time it takes to bring medical aid to the scene contributes to the high rate of disabilities and deaths from agricultural accidents, he added.
Delta farmer Ken Ashby, president of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, urges farmers to make farm safety the focus of their daily activities.
"Agriculture has overtaken mining as the most dangerous occupation in the country, with over 150 deaths per 100,000 workers. Statistics estimate one of every 10 farmers will sustain an injury on the job during the coming year."