Farm SafetyBy George Grow
This is the VOA Special English AGRICULTURE REPORT.
A new report says agriculture is the second most dangerous industry in the United States. The report says more than seven-hundred American farm workers died while working last year. One-hundred-fifty-thousand others suffered injuries that prevented them from farming. The National Safety Council released the findings.
Recently, President Clinton declared National Farm Safety and Health Week. The declaration says safety and health experts are working with many different groups in American farm communities. It says farm safety programs are reducing the dangers that threaten young people. It notes training programs have reduced the level of preventable diseases, injuries and deaths in farm areas.
American agriculture officials say farmers have a high risk of suffering a serious injury sometime during their lives. Officials say high rates of injury, disease and disability increase the demand for farm safety programs. American farm workers who are unable to work because of injury lose up to four-million dollars each year.
Agriculture officials say there are several ways to improve safety. These include using safety devices on farm equipment. Wearing personal protective equipment, such as hard hats and safety shoes. And, carrying out safety inspections around the farm.
Farms earn most of their money during harvest time. This also is a major period for farm injuries and deaths. The National Safety Council says many of these injuries could be prevented.
The group urges farm workers to follow safe work rules all the time and set a good example for others. Everyone who operates farm equipment should receive training. Farm workers should be fully awake before operating farm equipment. And, they must be physically able to operate the equipment safely.
Farm safety programs can help people of all ages. Studies show farm accidents are likely to involve older adults. One example is in the state of Kansas. Farmers age sixty-five or older are involved in up to seventy percent of all farm accidents there. As a result, programs have been developed to inform older farmers about safety. Experts hope such programs will lead to a decrease in the numbers of injuries and deaths.
This VOA Special English AGRICULTURE REPORT was written by George Grow.