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Our View: Remain safe during harvest

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

The agricultural sector remains the most dangerous occupation in the U.S., according to the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety.

Last year saw 475 fatalities among the people who work in agriculture, fishing, hunting and forestry. That represents 21.2 deaths per 100,000 workers.

Within that cloud of bad news, however, is a silver lining.

Those fatalities represented a 16 percent reduction from the 566 fatalities recorded in 2011.

And the 566 fatalities in 2011 represented a 9 percent reduction from nearly 600 fatalities in 2010.

Those declines in fatal work injuries happened because more people are avoiding the hazards associated with the agricultural sector.

Those hazards are many.

Today’s farmers have to respect the dangers posed by their huge, high-tech equipment.

Today’s farmers have to worry about avoiding the cars and trucks they share rural roadways with.

Today’s farmers have to worry about whether the hot engines of their combines could set fire to dry fields during harvest.

Ag safety groups have worked nearly 70 years to improve safety at harvest time. Some of their accomplishments include the establishment of slow-moving vehicle emblems, rollover protective structures for tractors, and better emergency farm rescue techniques.

This year’s push is to continue to improve safety and rescue techniques for workers in agricultural confined spaces, such as grain bins.

With the harvest upon us, we encourage everyone associated with agriculture to embrace safe working habits. A bumper crop of healthy, uninjured farm workers should be everyone’s goal.

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