At the 2013 Farm Progress Show in Decatur, IL, Country Financial, the largest auto and home insurer in Illinois, was busy handing out flyers on some basic facts:
FACT: Two out of every five agricultural work deaths involve tractors.
FACT: Power takeoffs (PTOs) cause the most farm injuries leading to amputation.
Each year the company issues a report based on Illinois Press Association clippings about farm deaths, in conjunction with the National Farm Safety and Health Week, which is this week. This year’s finding showed the following:
- Twelve farm-related deaths occurred in Illinois in 2012. Tractor rollover/run-over and roadway collisions tied as the leading causes of death, at four each. There was one grain bin suffocation.
- Because all of the roadway collisions happened around or just after dark, drivers need to be reminded that it is harder to judge distance in the dark and you have to slow down early when there is a tractor going down the road ahead of you.
- Up until 2010, there had been a steady increase in grain bin deaths.
On the upside, the number of farm-related deaths is the lowest it has been in 35 years, ever since Country Financial has been keeping records. Here’s a link to a quick safety checklist  to reduce these numbers even further.
If you need some help in safeguarding your farm, ask a safety consultant to come out for a visit. Some states provide on-farm assessments and will help you modify your equipment. Our state, Minnesota, has a statewide community-based organization called EquipALife , which is a partner of Minnesota AgrAbility Project, which offers assistive technology, and the University of Minnesota Extension Service .