Keeping Farmers Safe

National Farm Safety and Health Week starts on September 15

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) September 15-21 is National Farm Safety and Health Week, and the Kansas Farm Bureau is hoping to raise awareness about the importance of safe farming practices.

This year, the Kansas Farm Bureau (KFB) is focused on the importance of tractor safety. While tractors can be a very helpful tool for farmers, they can also be very dangerous. Tractors can rollover and, if they do, they can cause serious injury to the driver or even death.

Using a rollover protective structure can help protect the farmer from being crushed if the tractor overturns or rolls over.

Farmers provide the dairy, eggs, fruits, vegetables and meats that are available in supermarkets and farmer's markets across the country. These foods are all essential parts of a healthy diet, so it is critical that they engage in safe practices so that they can continue to feed our nation. 

"Use a rollover protective structure for your tractor."

According to the White House, many farmers work with heavy machinery, livestock and toxic materials on a daily basis. Farmers also often work in potentially dangerous environments like processing facilities and grain elevators. Given that their contributions to society are so important, National Farm Safety and Health Week was established to promote safe farming practices.

A tractor is a very common, multi-purpose tool used by farmers. Tractors can be used to prepare soil, plant seeds and collect harvests. They allow farmers to farm more land using less help. Tractors are also used to transport a variety of farm materials, including feed for animals, seeds and crops.

According to a training report provided by Ohio State University, tractor rollovers are responsible for half of the tractor-related deaths in the US.

Rollover protective structures (ROPS) are highly recommended for farmers who drive tractors. While ROPS do not prevent rollovers from happening, the Ohio State report does note that they can prevent serious injury or death if a rollover does occur.

As the name suggests, a ROPS is a two or four post frame that shields and protects a farmer from being crushed if the tractor overturns or rolls over. It is reported that they are 99.9 percent effective in preventing death or serious injury from a rollover.

ROPS are relatively inexpensive to farmers. The Kansas Farm Bureau estimates that they cost farmers less than $3 per day for one year.

Some additional suggestions to reduce the risk of rollovers and for general tractor safety include the following:

  • Always use a seatbelt.
  • Reduce speeds on rough grounds and on slopes.
  • Try to stay clear of ditches, stumps and other obstacles.
  • Make slow turns, setting wheels as far apart as possible.
  • Lock the brake pedals together before high-speed road travel.

The KFB also cautions that these safety rules are important not just for farmers but also for their families and for any children that may be on farms.

For more information on National Farm Safety and Health Week, visit the Kansas Farm Bureau website.

Review Date: 
September 6, 2013
Last Updated:
September 8, 2013