Agriculture 2nd most dangerous occupation
June 05, 2004
Agriculture ranks as the second most dangerous occupation, just behind the mining and quarrying industry. In 2002, there were about 3.4 million Americans working in agriculture. There were 730 agriculture-related deaths (up two percent over 2001) and nearly 150,000 disabling injuries according to the National Safety Council. About 100 children and youth die in farm work accidents each year in the U.S. and many more are seriously injured.

Tractor incidents remain the number one cause of death in agriculture. Tractors overturning without rollover protection cause a majority of the fatal injuries to operators. Safety specialists have estimated that non-rollover protected tractors account for nearly 50 percent of all farm tractors in use across the nation. According to Karen Funkenbusch, research associate with the University of Missouri Rural Health and Safety Outreach Program, children can be injured riding on tractors, [but also] in grain wagons, or in activities around grain bins or chores with farm animals or by drowning in farm ponds.

Funkenbush offers these basic tips to keep children safe on or around the farm:

When accidents do cause disabilities, there is help. The Missouri AgrAbility Project provides services for rural people with disabilities. The AgrAbility Project is a collaborative effort of University of Missouri Extension, the University of Missouri-Columbia, Departments of Occupational and Physical, School of Health Professions, and Services for Independent Living.

For more information, call Karen Funkenbusch at (800) 995-8503 or visit the Missouri AgrAbility Project.

Your local University of Missouri Extension office also has guide sheets related to farm safety. One of the most popular is G1950, “Responding to Farm Accidents,” which is also available online.

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