A recent Insurance Journal article reported that farm fatalities in the state of Indiana increased in 2008 for the second year in a row. This increase follows three decades of declines. The information was developed from the Purdue University's Agricultural Safety and Health Program. In 2006, 8 farm related fatalities were recorded in the state, the lowest since Purdue University began to keep records in the 1940s.
The top two causes of farm related deaths were tractor rollovers and machinery crushings or pinnings. The Purdue Report includes several recommendations for safety measures that farmers can take.
- Avoid working when tired. Farmers should take frequent breaks and get enough sleep.
- Keep all equipment shields in place. If a shield is removed to work on something, be sure to put it back on.
- Use all safety locks and safety equipment. Don't override safety locks thinking they will slow down productivity.
- Use tractors with rollover protective structures.
- Make sure the slow-moving vehicle emblem is visible and in good condition on all tractors and equipment.
- Use hazard lights when operating tractors and equipment on roadways.
Additional farm safety information can be found at the following websites:
The report coincides with National Farm Safety and Heath Week, September 20th - 26th. Additional information on Farm Safety and Health Week can be found in the Agricultural Safety Section of the National Safety Council's website: http://www.nsc.org/resources/issues/agrisafe.aspx
About the Author: Craig Welsh is an Executive in the Agribusiness Division of Westfield Insurance. He oversees Westfield's Agribusiness operation that focuses on insuring all segments of agriculture (farming and agribusiness customers) in all 19 active states. Craig has worked in a variety of underwriting and management functions over the past 16 years with Westfield. Craig has completed both the CPCU (Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter) and AFIS (Agribusiness and Farm Insurance Specialist) Designations. He has an undergraduate degree in Economics from West Virginia Wesleyan College and a Masters Degree in Insurance Management from Boston University.