End of Summer Farm Safety

David Powell

The end of summer is a busy time for farmers, as the days grow shorter and crops are ready for harvest. This is a time of corn mazes, pumpkin patches, mums, and late season farmers market visits. But amidst all the excitement, it's easy to forgo some safety measures. From tractors to wagons, vehicles are an essential part of modern farming, but they aren't there just for hay rides. During the fall harvest season, countless hours will be spent in combines, tractors, trucks and other equipment by farmers and workers who will be transporting large equipment on our roads and highways.

Some workers may be young, new or inexperienced, so it’s always a good suggestion to go over safety considerations with all workers to teach or reinforce the importance of safety on the farm. Agriculture ranks among the nation’s most hazardous industries. Farmers are at very high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries, and farming is one of the few industries in which family members, who often share the work and live on the premises, are also at risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries. In 2010, 476 farmers and farm workers died from a work-related injury, resulting in a fatality rate of 26.1 deaths per 100,000 workers. Tractor overturns were the leading cause of death for these farmers and farm workers. Harvest time is filled with long hours, field dinners and memories. It’s also one of the most dangerous times on the farm. There are more crashes, fatalities and injuries in October and November compared to any other months. All it takes is that one time. Harvest is an exciting time for everyone, especially children. It’s also a busy time, and adults may be easily distracted. So be especially cautious and enjoy this time of year. Take your time and make pleasant memories of those crisp cobalt blue days with colorful leaves that you share with your loved ones.