Agriculture often tops lists of being one of the most dangerous occupations. Whether you are working on the farm yourself, or just visiting a local farm stand, Ag specialists want to encourage safety and defensive behavior.
Tractor accidents are known to be a leading cause of death and injuries for farmers. These incidents can occur from a lack of safety knowledge by both the operator and the bystander.
AJ Furguson is the vice president of Farm Safety for Utah Farm Bureau. He works with local Farm Bureau branches and the public to spread awareness on the need for farm safety awareness. More than half of the fatal accidents that happen on roadways involve some sort of farm equipment. He says this is because people are not aware of their surroundings. This year, the Farm Bureau decided to spread awareness on roadway safety where there is frequent tractor traffic.
“If you think about the people who are traveling to and from different family activities during this time of the year with fall break coming up, that could impact a family," Furguson said. "Especially if they are going through an area where they are not used to seeing farm machinery, they make an assumption that they can pass when suddenly the tractor makes a sudden left hand turn cutting them off or hitting them- it can be devastating to family members.”
Farm safety does not just apply to the farmers and their families, it can affect just about anyone. Training and information sessions hosted by the Farm Bureau has helped decrease accidents in the Utah agriculture industry.
“Utah Farm Bureau was asked by the Utah Labor Commission to take over the farm safety program back in 1988," Furguson said. " At the start of the program we saw an average of 18 fatalities a year in the state of Utah just in agriculture. Over the years we actually saw that drop to about two or three annual fatalities.”
The Farm Safety program has also seen a lot of success here in Utah since the Farm Bureau took over.