Experts Advise Farm Safety Practices During Safety Week

Northwest Iowa — It’s almost harvest season. Some farmers have been busy in the fields already — especially those cutting corn for silage. So it’s a good time to think about being careful in the fields and all around the farm.
The Iowa Farm Safety and Health Week is this week — through Saturday, September 24th, in conjunction with the National Farm Safety and Health Week. This year’s theme is “Farm Safety…A Legacy to be Proud Of.”

This is the 73rd observance of the National Farm Safety and Health Week that was originally declared by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt signed the first proclamation for farm safety in 1944 because of the high injury rate in agriculture that was impacting the nation’s production efforts during World War II.

Nearly 75 years later agriculture still ranks as the most dangerous industry in the United States.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed a proclamation Sept. 9 to commemorate the week. The proclamation calls for all Iowans to “work together to control and mitigate these farm risks.” Working to make farms safer is crucial to a state like Iowa that has more than 90 percent of its land used in agriculture and distributes more than $10 billion worth of agricultural products each year, the proclamation notes.

We talked with Chuck Schwab from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, a professor of agriculture and biosystems engineering and an extension safety specialist. He says it’s important to think about safety during a week such as this due to the high death rate in agriculture.

He gives us some tips on avoiding those slips and falls, which depending on the circumstances could be painful or worse.

He gives as a good tip to avoid electrocution.

The Iowa Farm Safety Council encourages Iowans to make better safety and health decisions this harvest season and during the next year.

You can prepare to prevent serious injuries and death by:

· cautiously approaching field adjustments or repairs,

· taking precautions to avoid slips and falls,

· making smart decisions while assigning tasks to youth, and

· understanding how physical abilities change with aging.

Join the Iowa Farm Safety Council and the National Safety Council in promoting safety during the 73rd annual National Farm Safety and Health Week Sept. 18-24, 2016. During this time please encourage others to adopt safe practices and behaviors as we prepare to prevent injuries during this harvest season.