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Who said there’s no harm on the farm?

September 18, 2018

Daily Journal staff report

Farming, especially for those who are not familiar with it, conjures images of fresh air, wide open land and peaceful surroundings.

But such images hardly complete the whole picture.

The National Safety Council has deemed agriculture to be the most hazardous occupation in the nation, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has compiled recent statistics to verify the point.

According to NIOSH, the men and women who grow the crops and raise the livestock that feed us are often placed at peril by doing so. Here is some data:

Who’s at risk?

• About 2.088 million full-time workers were employed in production agriculture in the U.S. in 2015.

• About 1.4 million to 2.1 million hired crop workers are employed annually on crop farms in the U.S.

• An estimated 893,000 youth younger than 20 years of age resided on farms in 2014, with about 454,000 youth performing farm work. In addition to the youth who live on farms, an estimated 266,000 youth were hired to work on U.S. farms in 2014.

Fatalities

• In 2016, 417 farmers and farm workers died from a work-related injury, resulting in a fatality rate of 21.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. Transportation incidents, which include tractor overturns, were the leading cause of death for these farmers and farmworkers.

• The most effective way to prevent tractor overturn deaths is the use of a Roll-Over Protective Structure. In 2012, 59 percent of tractors used on farms in the U.S. were equipped with ROPS. If ROPS were placed on all tractors used on U.S. farms manufactured since the mid-1960s, the prevalence of ROPS-equipped tractors could be increased to more than 80 percent.

• On average, 113 youth less than 20 years of age die annually from farm-related injuries (1995-2002), with most of these deaths occurring to youth 16-19 years of age (34 percent).

• Of the leading sources of fatal injuries to youth, 23 percent involved machinery (including tractors), 19 percent involved motor vehicles (including ATVs), and 16 percent were because of drowning.

Injuries

• Every day, about 100 agricultural workers suffer a lost-work-time injury.

• From 2008-10, 50 percent of all hired crop worker injuries were classified as a sprain or strain.

• In 2014, an estimated 12,000 youth were injured on farms; 4,000 of these injuries were because of farm work.

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