Our Nation’s agriculture industry contributes more than $789 billion to the economy and remains central to prosperity domestically and our competitiveness internationally. At the core of this industry are countless dedicated farmers and ranchers working to produce food stuffs at a level of efficiency and quality unrivaled around the globe.
“In many ways, agriculture ranks among the most crucial of our Nation’s industries; and yet, its reliability and productivity are often taken for granted.” – President George W. Bush.
Farmers face significant challenges and uncertainty, from inclement weather to damaging insects. They also face health and safety dangers, from exposure to chemicals and the operation of machinery to tending livestock.
Progress is being made in developing technology that makes farm and ranch work safer. Safety equipment features for tractors, such as roll-over protective structures, bypass starter covers, and hazard warning lights, aid in the prevention of injuries and save lives. Sunscreens, hearing protection devices, and other personal protective equipment reduce the serious health problems caused by toxic gases, chemicals, and harsh environmental conditions.
By increasing awareness of the availability of these safety and health protection measures, farmers can develop safety and health plans. They can install safety equipment and teach their children to recognize risks on the farm as well as how to do chores safely. Safety awareness is important throughout the year, but brought to light every September with the National Farm and Ranch Safety and Health Week.
Despite many hazards and uncertainties, farmers ensure quality food is produced and available to all American’s. Whether you live on a farm or just visit, we can all stay safe by learning more and following simple tips like these:
- Approach animals cautiously and don’t spook or alarm them.
- Wear proper personal protective clothes and equipment for the task at hand. When working with chemicals this may include protective eye wear and gloves. When driving an ATV or tractor, repairing equipment, or working with livestock it might include long pants and close toed shoes.
- Don’t play in or near grain bins. Grain in a grain bin can shift. If you try to stand on it, it acts like quicksand and you will sink. If you sink too far it will be very hard to breathe.
- Don’t play with or near fertilizer, pesticides or cleaning supplies. If you do use chemicals, be sure to read all instructions and wear proper personal protective equipment. And be sure to wash hands and clothes afterwards to prevent spreading the chemicals.
- Be alert! If accidents do happen it is often because the person wasn’t paying attention.
For lesson plans and more great advice on safety, be sure to check out Farm Safety For Just Kids.