Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
EXTENSION: Highlighting the need for safety awareness on and off-farm
UW-EXTENSION

EXTENSION: Highlighting the need for safety awareness on and off-farm

{{featured_button_text}}

A recently released report reminds us that farm-related injuries and fatalities are not just a farming issue.

The Wisconsin Farm Related Fatalities report compiles data from 2017 and 2018 to get a better understanding of the causes of farm accidents and deaths – with the hope of building awareness to help avoid them in the future. The report is a partnership between the National Farm Medicine Center, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension and UW’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

According to the report, the single largest cause of farm-related fatalities in Wisconsin was roadway collisions involving agricultural equipment and cars. In both 2017 and 2018, those deaths represented 29 percent of all farm-related fatalities. People in passenger vehicles accounted for most of the victims involved in these accidents.

John Shutske, Professor and Director of the UW Center for Agricultural Safety and Health and report author states “Most people think of farm safety as an issue of personal choice, but in the case of highway collisions involving slower moving ag equipment, it really crosses into the domain of public safety and health.”

As we approach the busy corn and soybean harvest season, we all can play a role in helping reduce incidents on the roadway.

Drivers should slow down when approaching farm equipment on roads, exhibit patience and caution when passing slow moving vehicles, and be aware of indications that a tractor may be about to make a turn. Equipment slowing down to make a left-hand turn is often when impatient drivers see an opportunity to pass – a move that can result in serious collisions.

Farm machinery operators are also encouraged to ensure their equipment has up-to-date lighting and visible slow-moving vehicle signage and to avoid roadway travel during low light and high traffic hours.

Age also plays a factor

Persons aged over 65 represented a majority of the victims involved in farm-related fatalities. This finding isn’t totally surprising, as farmers generally work later into their golden years than workers in other fields. Older farmers may be more at risk when navigating the hazards of farm work.

As Shutske explains, “We know older operators and employees share some common risk factors. For example, as we get older, our reaction time slows a bit. It can also be a bit more challenging to make fast, needed decisions. And, fatigue can play a role with older operators. We often see a constellation of compounding issues – long hours worked, fatigue, stress (due to financial conditions, weather, etc.), and when things get busy, a heightened tendency to get distracted – all can lead to serious injury or death.”

Farm operators and employees of all ages are reminded to take periodic breaks, stay well hydrated, and get adequate sleep.

To learn more about the findings highlighted in this report, visit https://marshfieldresearch.org/nfmc/wi-farm-related-fatality-reports.

Leigh Presley, is agriculture educator with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension for Kenosha and Racine counties.

Leigh Presley, is agriculture educator with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension for Kenosha and Racine counties.

0
0
0
0
0

Get local news delivered to your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

News Alert