Let’s Shift Farm Safety Into High Gear this Harvest

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

2019-NFSHW-Logo-(Color)During harvest, one of the most hectic times of year for a farmer, it is important to remember one vital, life-saving measure; safety! Although it often seems you’re racing against the clock and adding more to the “to do list” than you are eliminating, safety should never take a backseat or be ignored. To shed the light on the importance of safety on farms and ranches, National Farm Safety and Health Week, promotes a 75-year tradition of educating and celebrating safety’s relevance in the agricultural industry. This year’s theme, Shift Farm Safety Into High Gear, reminds us to practice safety more intensely and actively in the day-to-day tasks we must accomplish around the farm.

Emerging issues and important topics will be highlighted daily such as Tractor Safety & Rural Roadway Safety (Monday, September 16th), Farmer Health & Suicide/Opioid Prevention (Tuesday, September 17th), Safety & Health for Youth in Agriculture (Wednesday, September 18th), Confined Spaces in Agriculture (Thursday, September 19th) and Safety & Health for Women in Agriculture (Friday, September 20th).

Each Wednesday of National Farm Safety and Health Week has been devoted annually to safety and health topics affecting children, a cause very near and dear to the Progressive Agriculture Foundation. During this week alone, nearly 30 Progressive Agriculture Safety Days, a one-day, age-appropriate, hands-on, educational, fun and safe event for children in rural communities, will take place. To date, nearly 1.8 million children and adults have learned life-saving safety lessons helping Progressive Agriculture Safety Days become recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America.

Large EquipmentDuring these more hectic times of year, it is important to remember children are curious. The sad reality is that every three days a child dies and every day 33 children are injured due to agricultural-related incidents in the United States according to the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety (NCCRAHS). Growing up on or around the farm can be an amazing, one-of-a-kind experience; however, it is important to foster a child’s love and passion for agriculture in a safe manner. Remember, eyes are always watching; therefore, be sure to role model safe behavior during day-to-day practices while handling chemicals or working around large equipment and animals. If youngsters want to get involved, ensure that all tasks and chores assigned to youth are age-appropriate and align with the child’s development skill level. Remind children that the farm is a livelihood and not a play area; therefore, it should be treated with the same respect and care of any other workplace.

Keep in mind that when you make safety a reality, you can help avoid a fatality! During National Farm Safety and Health Week, join us in reflecting, revisiting and rethinking ways to keep ourselves and loved ones safe on the farm, on the ranch and at home. For more information or to locate a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® near you, visit www.progressiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529. Want to make a safe investment National Farm Safety and Health Week? Help send another child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® with a modest donation of only $13. Donate today by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 41444.

Additional National Farm Safety and Health Week can be found through the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) at www.necasag.org.

Photo 1: 2019 National Farm Safety and Health Week (NFSHW) Logo

Photo 2: Can you see me? At this Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in Idaho, participants learn the dangers of blind spots around large equipment.