Accidents can happen when we are in a hurry

12 Sep

In an age of technological advancement spurred from the Industrial Age, safety on the farm can never be emphasized enough.

Whether they are red or green, today’s big tractors along with a wide array of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) as well as environmental hazards all present their own set of challenges for modern-age farmers. National Farm Safety Week is being celebrated this week.

“The farm is many things to our rural children. It’s their home, their playground and often their workplace,” explained Andrea Stoltzfus, who successfully coordinated Farm Safety Day Camp for the past two years in early May at the Berlin Grove. “But, farming also has many special hazards associated with it. It’s important our children and their parents better understand those risks. We need to work together to build a safe future in farming.”

This year’s Farm Safety Day Camp brought together several organizations, agencies and individuals for a day full of learning experiences and education.

Somerset County Farm Bureau, Conemaugh Regional Trauma Center, Penn State Cooperative Extension and Pennsylvania Farm Bureau partnered together for the annual event.

“Farm safety day was a small space enclosed with many pieces of equipment all brought together for the purpose of education,” said Stoltzfus. “We all learned accidents can happen in a blink of an eye. Farmers, especially, are under gun at different times of year to get the crops in but everyone needs to be reminded to slow down. Accidents happen when we are in a hurry.”

Farm Safety Day included rotating workshops on home and farm chemical safety by Jim Harvey from Penn State University and Miguel Saviroff; chainsaw safety by Somerset County Technology Center’s FFA demonstration team; skid loader safety by Hines Equipment near Somerset; fire safety by Berlin Volunteer Fire Department; tractor safety and PTO entanglement by Bill Blough; and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety by Knepper Farm and Outdoor Equipment, Berlin.A roll-over simulation from Penn State with a tractor cab attached to a wagon turned out to be one of the highlights of the day. Children of all ages climbed into a tractor cab and then got to safely experience what it feels like when that cab turns on its side.

“It was an excellent opportunity for everyone to go to different stations and learn anything from lawn mower safety to seeing how fast a PTO shaft operates,” said Stoltzfus. Berlin fire department also allowed visitors to put out live fires with fire extinguishers. Somerset County Tech Center FFA did a demonstration on ATV safety. And, the Med-Star helicopter arrived so children could step inside the helicopter and talk to the pilot.

Miguel Saviroff, Somerset County Cooperative Extension agent who helps plan the farm safety event every year, said that accidents on the farm happen every year but being proactive can save a life.

“Each year in the United States, farmers experience fatal and nonfatal injuries associated with production in agriculture,” explained Saviroff. “Primary causes of these injuries include tractor, farm and garden machinery, all-terrain vehicles, chainsaws, livestock, building structures and falls.”

Saviroff explained that producers are also exposed to many environmental hazards, such as pesticides, fuel, noxious gases, airborne irritants, noise, vibration, zoonoses and stress.

Tractor rollovers still remains a primary cause of farm injuries, followed by agricultural and garden machinery accidents, chainsaw kickbacks and other hand-powered tool injuries, animals and livestock and motorized highway vehicles, said Saviroff.

Truck-related injuries, machinery entanglements such as power takeoff (PTOs) and drowning are also on the list.

“Farming can be a dangerous activity. Farmers are the people who make our food so it’s important for everyone to be alert and cautious in every situation,” said Saviroff. “You can never be too careful on the farm. Adults make mistakes every day in all kinds of situations but safety can be developed into a mindset. The best way to teach children that mindset is early on and at a young age. To learn to avoid mistakes is a condition of behavior. There needs to be a constant alertness to face every task every day.”

He also stressed that with so many young people riding all-terrain vehicles (ATV), the issue of safety in that matter should be paramount for the parents and the teenagers.

“Young people need to learn how to react in a moment of crisis and how to learn safe use of ATV vehicles,” stressed Saviroff.

And, pesticides on the farm need to be considered as hazardous by farmers and should be taken very seriously. Farmers need to wear goggles, helmets, hats, gloves, boots, long sleeves and whatever else necessary when working with pesticides. Any type of hazardous materials needs easy-to-understand labels and instructions posted in at an information center at the farm.

For those who may be interested in learning more about farm safety, these websites have educational articles. They are http://www.necasag.org for the National Educational Center for Agricultural Safety and http://www.agsafety.psu.edu.

“We all know a story about someone who was hurt in a farm accident,” concluded Stoltzfus. “Someday I would like to be able to say that farming accidents are a thing of the past. The more educated families become, the more we can make a difference. Farm safety cannot be emphasized enough.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: