Farming is risky business

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Weather and prices aren’t the only risks in farming. Operating farm equipment and doing other daily work on the farm makes it one of the most dangerous industries, according to the Center for Disease Control.

The CDC said in 2017, 416 farmers and farm workers died from a work-related injury.

Transportation which includes tractors, is the leading cause of farm fatalities, studies said.

The CDC, Bureau of Labor Statistics and studies by other entities outline the high risk of injury in agriculture. Data from the BLS, for example, can be broken down into agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting as well as in agriculture worker in the private sector but numbers are generally from 2017 or 2018.

Research on the dangers of the agriculture industry was also completed earlier in the 2000s and the 1990s.

The BLS said in 2018, four people died in South Dakota in the category of agriculture worker in private industry. Three were self-employed and one was an employee.

Nationwide, there were 158 fatalities for agriculture employees in the private industry in 2018, according to the BLS. One-hundred-twenty-five were wage or salary employees while 33 were self-employed.  More men (142) than women (16) were killed.  The number may vary from the CDC because the specific category of agriculture employees in the private industry.

Sixty-six of the fatal incidents were transportation incidents. Twenty-five involved tractors and power take off (PTO), according the BLS.

The Great Plains Center for Agriculture Safety released a study in 2015 on agriculture injuries and fatalities in 12 Midwestern states from 2005 to 2012. During that time, there were 1,858 fatalities. On average, there were 232 deaths per year during that time period. Most of those who died were 45 and older.

According to the BLS, in 2018, 2,707.8 people were injured in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting category in the U.S. There were 126.8 illnesses.

Adults aren’t the only people at risk in agriculture.

The National Children’s Center for Rural Agriculture Health and Safety compiled data from several different sources including the CDC into a one-page summary of the dangers to youth in agriculture.

Some of the data is from 1995 to 2000 while other data used in the organization’s summary is more recent. In general, the most recent comprehensive data on farm or agriculture injuries and fatalities to adults is from 2017.

There were an estimated 11,942 children injured in 2014. According to the CDC, 4,000 of those children were injured because of farm work.

From 1995 through 2002, 113 children younger than 20 died from farm related injuries, the CDC said.

According to the Great Plains Center for Agriculture Safety’s study from 2005 to 2012, less than 3% of fatalities in 12 Midwestern states were children under 16.

Most deaths happened in transportation incidents involving a tractor or all-terrain vehicle, the rural youth safety organization said.

Tractor rollovers and overturns are involved in about half of the agriculture fatalities as well as causing many injuries, according to the National Ag Safety Database, funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

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