By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® Program
The agriculture industry continues to remain the most dangerous in the U.S. with farming leading as one of the most hazardous occupations. Just like fall harvest, with putting in long hours and rushing to complete tasks, the likelihood of a preventable incident occurring increases during spring planting season. Most farms are safe places; however, during these busy times of year, we tend to abandon our safety focus.
The risk of cutting corners to get tasks accomplished in a short amount of time can be deadly; therefore, setting realistic, daily goals can help you start off on the right foot. Reviewing safety protocols with all workers, both new and seasoned, is essentially in the safety and well-being of all. Avoid skipping meals and dodging breaks and stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep, as this is not only detrimental to a farmer’s health but can affect concentration. Losing focus can result in injury or death to not only the farmer, but other workers. Continuously check for blind spots and take time to do a walkabout around your equipment.
Spring planting means more farm vehicles will be sharing the roadways with other vehicles; therefore, be mindful as you transport equipment on public roadways. Do your best to be visible and warn the public that you are moving more slowly than they are by using warning systems such as flashing lights, extremity markings and slow-moving vehicle (SMV) emblem. SMV emblems should be in place and clean from dirt and debris and on all tractors and machinery that cannot maintain speeds above 25 miles per hour.
The family of Tom Wall know far too well about the dangers of spring planting season. Tom was a beloved husband, father and active within his community. He was recognized as an Iowa Master Farmer and served as a long-time leader of a local 4-H club. Sadly, Tom was tragically killed in a tractor-roadway incident on May 26, 2016 at the age of 55. Since the day of Tom’s passing, the Wall family vowed to turn their loss into a positive purpose for others and increase safety for those living on farms, ranches and rural areas.
For more information or to locate a Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® near you, visit www.progresiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529. The program is celebrating 25 years with more than 400 events planned in rural communities this year. You can help send another child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, just like the family of Tom Wall, with a modest donation of only $13 by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 41444 or visiting progressiveag.org/Donate.
Photo: To honor her father’s legacy, Tom Wall’s daughter Sarah, who participated in a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® as a child, decided to ask people to donate in her dad’s name. To date, this small act raised more than $500 and will enable the Progressive Agriculture Foundation to send at least 44 participants to a local Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in their community.