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Online program may improve access to help for farm accidents

Many people in rural Illinois work in agriculture but working on a commercial or private farm is not without risk. These farms often store a number of fuel barrels, chemicals, fertilizers and heavy equipment which can pose a serious threat when a farm accident occurs, especially in the event of a fire since these substances are quite flammable.  Therefore, it is important for first responders to know where hazards may be on the farm.

Whether responding to tractor accidents, combine accidents, grain bin explosions or more, firefighters often have only seconds to respond in order to save a life or minimize the risk of long-term injury. However, a pilot program involving the firefighters, researchers and farmers shows that an online database which stores the locations of dangerous substances on farms could be of great benefit to farm workers when an accident happens.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that during an eight year period, between 430 and 560 farm workers were involved in fatal on-the-job farm accidents on commercial and large private farms. The pilot program creates a map to help first responders quickly locate where water and power controls are on the farm that can be accessed with a simple scan of a hand-held device like a tablet. With such information, the chance of reaching injured workers is improved. However, plans to expand the program are on hold due to budget issues.  

Agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries in our society today. Farm workers should always take note of on-the-job safety and how to protect themselves in the case of an injury or accident. Talking to an experienced attorney who understands the laws in this area can be very helpful for farm employees if they are injured.

Source: Omaha.com, “Mapping hazards down on the farm,” June 3, 2013

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