Farmers’ markets, roadside stands, grocery stores and pick-your-own farms are now at their peak, and consumers are enjoying the plentiful harvest of farmers across Maryland. As we enjoy the many fruits and vegetables from these farms, it’s essential to know that agriculture is one of the top three most dangerous industries in the United States.
In 2019, 410 farmers and farm workers died from work-related injuries. Transportation accidents, including tractor overturns, were the leading cause of death for these farmers and farm workers. Tractor accidents, such as rollovers, falls, and contact with tractor attachments can result in property damage, medical bills, time off work, reduced productivity, high insurance costs and death. Preventative tractor safety measures must be taken to stop these catastrophic injuries.
The Importance of Safety in Agriculture
Incidents involving tractors are the leading cause of death and severe injury in agriculture. Ensuring the safety of tractor operators is essential. These are a few ways to lessen fatalities and injuries on the farm.
· Rollover protective structures (ROPS)—When installed on tractors, ROPS effectively prevent overturn fatalities and injuries. These structures provide a protective zone around the tractor operator so that if an overturn happens, the operator is protected.
· Seatbelts—Alone, seatbelts can prevent up to 40% of all farm work injuries. However, when a seatbelt is used with ROPS, they are 99% effective in preventing deaths and serious injuries.
· Maintenance—Perform regular maintenance on your tractors per the manufacturer’s instructions.
· Guards—It’s vital to guard the power take-off (PTO) shaft, drive and input connections with coupling guards to protect clothing or body parts against becoming entangled.
· Security—Never carry others unless the tractor has a separate seat with a safety belt. In addition, never leave a tractor in a position where it can roll or with the starter key in the ignition.
· Education—This is also key to tractor safety. Tractor operators who know their machines and the hazards that might occur are better equipped to handle an accident. Tractor safety training can help prevent injuries and fatalities and empower operators to make better decisions when operating their equipment.
The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP) offers a variety of health and safety programs for those involved in agricultural work. In addition, your insurance company can help you with the appropriate insurance coverage for your farm’s needs, including your farm equipment.
It’s essential to know what to do to prevent accidents, what to do if an accident occurs, and the financial protection that insurance can provide. Production is critical to a farm’s livelihood, and implementing proper precautions and obtaining suitable insurance for your operations can help ensure that you continue to meet your production demands.
This blog is intended for informational and educational use only. It is not exhaustive and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact your insurance professional for further information.