Farm safety: Illinois deaths reach record low this year

Farming is a source of livelihood for many people in Sangamon County and thousands of people throughout Illinois. Unfortunately, there are many risks inherent to agricultural work, and farm accidents can be fatal or leave victims permanently disabled.

Encouragingly, 2012 was the safest year for farm work that Illinois has seen in over three decades. However, this doesn't mean that farm workers should let down their guard or that there isn't still room to improve farming practices.

Agricultural work remains hazardous

The CDC states that agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries in this country. The organization reports the following troubling facts:

  • In 2010, the fatality rate per 100,000 workers was 26.1 deaths.
  • An estimated 243 agricultural workers are injured every day.
  • One in twenty of those injuries will have permanent effects.
  • Annually, farm injuries prove fatal for an average of 113 youth under age 20.

The CDC points out that the risks of agricultural work don't exclusively affect workers. Even family members and people who live on the property but aren't involved in farm work may be in danger of being injured in life-altering ways.

Farmers who invest money in protective measures like Roll-Over Protective Structures for tractors can prevent needless injury or loss of life. It's also crucial for people who work on farms to understand the risks and be given proper training. Illinois' WSIL TV reports that many farmers credit better safety awareness with last year's decrease in fatalities.

2012-2013 season: deaths at record low

An article on the WSIL TV website reports that the twelve farm accident fatalities that Illinois experienced last year are the lowest number the state has recorded in 35 years. This figure is based on records kept by the insurance company Country Financial, which doesn't have records that extend further back. Although this low figure is impressive, there are still areas to improve on to further reduce the risk of farm accident fatalities.

According to the article, one area that deserves further attention is accidents on the road. A third of the farm deaths that occurred in 2012 were roadway accidents, and according to a Country Financial spokesman, most roadway collisions took place at the end of the day. This year, more publicity will be dedicated to the dangers of driving farming equipment on the roads at nightfall.

The WSIL TV article also notes that some farmers believe that the reduced number of fatalities was partly related to the fact that the 2012 harvest was relatively small. This means that a greater number of agricultural workers could be at risk this harvest season.

People who have been hurt in farm accidents should consult with a lawyer to find out if they are entitled to compensation for their injuries.