View from the Cab: Safety first

(CIFN file photo)

As we prepare to head out to the fields for another harvest, let’s take a moment to think farm safety as it is National Farm Safety and Health Week.

The week is led by the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety, which is the ag partner of the National Safety Council. In fact, this annual promotion has been proclaimed by every sitting U.S. president since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944. National Farm Safety and Health Week has daily themes to keep safety at the top of every farmer’s mind.

The agricultural sector is still the most dangerous in America with 574 fatalities, which equals 23.4 deaths per 100,000 workers, according to 2018 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Farmers face many dangerous situations throughout the year, not the least of which is maneuvering large equipment from field to field throughout the harvest season,” said Eric Vanasdale, Loss Control Supervisor for COUNTRY Financial. “It’s up to all of us to ensure safe roadways.”

Rural motorists are encouraged to give themselves a few extra minutes for travel during the harvest season so they can slow down to keep our farmers and families safe. It is easy to miscalculate the equipment’s slower speed as you approach it on the road in a faster moving vehicle.

Farmers should keep lights, SMV signs and the body of farm vehicles clean, travel in farm vehicles at low traffic times when possible and continue to be observant. COUNTRY Financial reports distracted driving is just as dangerous in farm equipment as it is in regular vehicles.

Drivers need to notice the lights on farm vehicles as they are required to have amber and red rear lights. The amber lights should flash as a warning to nearby motorists. Also, slow down when you see a piece of farm equipment on the road as most of this equipment only travels up to 20 miles per hour. With harvest season typically running September through November, expect to see farm vehicles out on the road during this time period.

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