Farm safety week reminder of danger that lurks

Dave Bergmeier

“Protecting Agriculture’s Future” is an appropriate theme for 2022 National Farm Safety and Health Week, as noted by the AgriSafe Network.

The network recognized the importance of safety in light of the dangers found on farms and ranches. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, about 100 agricultural workers suffer a lost work-time injury every day. In 2019, the industry had a fatality rate of 19.4 deaths per 100,000 workers.

Farm Safety Week is Sept. 18 to 24 and the AgriSafe Network is planning on seminars for agricultural health and safety professionals, healthcare providers, Extension agents, producers, farmers, ranchers and farmworkers.

Partners at National Education Center for Agricultural Safety coined the phrase “Protecting Agriculture’s Future” to remind people that the cornerstone of sustainable agriculture is healthy and safe workers. The seminars will touch on tractor and roadway safety, grain bin safety, wildfire and heat safety, workplace sexual harassment prevention, injury prevention and mental health help for youth and adults. Additional information is available at

Dedicating a week to saving the lives and limbs of farmers and their employees, which oftentimes are their own children, is a must. Danger lurks and at the blink of an eye a routine day can turn into a serious injury or fatality.

Farm safety awareness occurs in the spring, too, as farm operators begin many of the season’s tasks. It’s equally important in the fall because picking corn, harvesting soybeans, sorghum and cotton and planting wheat and undertaking other fieldwork are a must to ensure an operation’s profitability. It also is a time when ranchers are bringing cattle from distant pastures closer to home. The sunset comes much quicker as farmers and ranchers try to tackle tasks with less sun each day.

Also, school buses are running routes at night when motorists are tired and driving into the sun. That can cause fatigue or blind spots.

Farm safety has many obstacles but awareness is the starting point. Among the other hazards, there is such a need to get into the harvest field and making assumptions and overlooking safety protocol can be a deadly mistake.

Shifting grain becomes like quicksand so always make sure that employees or family are well trained before putting them in a grain bin. Nationwide Insurance and National Education Center for Agricultural Safety in addition to other organizations have been working toward greater awareness and also how to add equipment to rural fire departments so they can save lives, too.

Editors often write about the concern for farm machinery and grain bin safety but rarely touch on what happens in the pens. We do so today to raise awareness that a cantankerous bull, heifer, or steer can seriously maim or kill even the most experienced handler.

Fall, which starts Sept. 22, is also a time to remind urban cousins who are scouting for prime deer stands and upland game bird acres to seek permission with landowners but also to avoid being another distraction at a time when farmers and ranchers are carrying on their duties.

Longer workdays and shorter daylight hours mean machinery will be operating at night when an operator can be fatigued. Mental and physical stress are often the root of health problems and that adds to the potential of a farm accident.

The safety of farmers, ranchers and all those who make the industry special is what “Protecting Agriculture’s Future” is all about. In 2022 that is truly an appropriate theme and offers practical advice we all can learn from and implement.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].