Agricultural Safety

Friday, September 28, 2018

By: Heather Knapp

 Agriculture is one of the most essential industries in our society. The list of products that come from farming could go on and on forever. Drive down almost any road in Northeast Nebraska and you will most likely see agriculture all around you. Regardless of where you live in Nebraska, there is a good chance you know someone involved in the farming industry.

 Farming is an integral part of Nebraska’s culture, but did you know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rank farming as one of the most hazardous industries? Those who work in agriculture work with large machinery, dangerous chemicals, potentially aggressive animals, and are exposed to extreme weather conditions, falls from tall structures such as grain bins, and injury from dangerous tools and equipment. Agriculture is one of the few industries where the whole family may be exposed to these dangers, and are often involved in the farm work.


Statistics from the CDC and CS-CASH show the hazards of farming, not only for those who farm full time, but also for those who have family members and children who may be exposed to these dangers.

 ·         In 2014, about 893,000 youth under age 20 resided on farms, with about 454,000 of those youths performing farm work. In addition, about 266,000 youth under age 20 were hired to work on farms.

·         In 2014, about 12,000 youth injuries occurred on farms, with about 4,000 of these being farm-work related.

·         In 2016, 417 farmers and farm workers died as a result of a work related injury. The leading causes of death were transportation incidents, including tractor overturns.

·         From 2007-2010 there were 74 deaths related to agriculture production, just in Nebraska.

·         Every day, about 100 agricultural workers suffer am injury requiring time off work.

 The Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health in Omaha conducts research, intervention, education, and outreach activities to discover causes of injury and illness and develop ways to prevent them and improve overall health for members of the agricultural community. CS-CASH and the CDC provide many suggestions for staying safe with agricultural work:

 ·         Wear appropriate masks and ventilation gear, and keep filters clean

·         Use hearing protection such as ear plugs or ear muffs

·         Wear appropriate footwear to avoid slips, falls, or injuries from heavy objects

o   You might install rubber mats in areas that are frequently slick.

·         Store personal protective equipment in a clean, dry space

·         Keep eyewash and plenty of fresh water where you handle chemicals and use safety goggles and rubber gloves.

·         Wear protective equipment when operating a chainsaw (coveralls or thicker pants and long sleeve shirt, eye protection, helmet, gloves, NO loose fitting clothing), do not operate chainsaws alone

o   If you aren’t absolutely sure that you can cut a tree down safely, leave it to someone who can!

·         Replace poorly designed steps in and out of machinery

·         Replace worn or leaky parts, if possible, before they become a potential hazard

·         Keep fire extinguishers close and within easy access

·         Make yourself visible on the road, replace faded “slow moving vehicle” signs

·         Take a break when you need it, find a cool place to rest and drink plenty of water to avoid heat related illnesses.

·         Stay away from the PTO, and install a guard if possible

·         Guard augers and belts

·         Do not enter a bin while the sweep auger is running

·         Install roll-over protection bars on ATVs, mowers, tractors, and other riding equipment

·         Replace old ladders, step stools, stairs, and other furniture and tools (I know, they MIGHT still have a use right? Until the day that duct-taped rung on your favorite ladder gives out!)

·         Store sharps and medication for livestock safely

·         If you have to work alone, make sure you have a cell phone or another form of communication within reach

Take a look at this CS-CASH page for more details on staying safe on the farm:

return to all articles

Theme picker

Elkhorn Logan Valley
Public Health Department
2104 21st Circle / PO Box 779, Wisner, NE 68791
Phone: 402.529.2233  - or -  877.379.4400
Fax: 402.529.2211
After Hours: 402.841.8110