A busy harvest season means “Safety Counts ““ Protecting What Matters”

Tennessee farmers are reaping the yields of their hard work this harvest season and that means long hours in their fields and lots of additional vehicles sharing our roadways. The Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation would like to remind farmers and farm workers that safety should be practiced at all times, but especially during the heightened activity surrounding harvest.

Stats project our farms will have to produce enough food to feed nine billion people by the year 2050, and doing that safely for both the farmers and public is the number one goal. Agriculture continues to rank as one of the most dangerous occupations, mainly due to the long hours, equipment and nature of the work that happens on farms”¦especially during planting and harvest seasons.

There’s been an unwanted safety trend in rural America with an increase in motor vehicle versus farm equipment incidents on rural roadways. Farm equipment operators should always think about safe driving habits as they transport equipment to and from the field.  

Farmers can help avoid collisions by making sure that they have up-to-date lighting and clearly visible Slow Moving Vehicle emblems and other reflective markings or flashing lights when possible.  

Both farm operators and passenger vehicles should avoid distractions while driving, such as texting. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2010, 3,092 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, and an estimated additional 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.

Tennessee Farm Bureau policy states that farm safety is of the utmost importance to our farmers across the state. This policy is reviewed, updated and changed if needed every year beginning at the county level. The policies are discussed as to whether it should stay, change or be deleted out of Farm Bureau policy for the next year.

“Farm families and employees need to be more aware of safety and health precautions on the farm. We should prepare for emergencies and know how to cope until help arrives. In addition to current training for all EMS and rescue organizations, we support an additional requirement of annual farm emergency and rescue training”¦” the policy clearly reflects the feeling on the importance of safety on farms across Tennessee.

Many farm families have developed a safety policy that includes safety goals for their operation. The farm owner, employees, volunteers and family members then work together to develop a plan to meet this policy. It is important family members, employees and volunteers workingӬat the operation know how to do their jobs safely so that in times of stress, long hours, inclement weather or even an emergency, all members of the farm team know what to do. Tennessee Farm Bureau reminds farmers to train and reviewӬsafety points with all new employees, volunteers and family members. Make them aware of telephones and posted emergency numbers, fire extinguishers and contingency plans. An effective strategy for teaching children to be safe is to have all employees, volunteers and family members display safe practices at all times, as kids will repeat what they see adults doing.

National Farm Safety and Health Week is September 21-27, so farmer or a member of the general public, keep in mind to share the roads, don’t drive distracted, be aware of safety and emergency plans at your place of work and know where to turn if an emergency does occur near you.