Farm Safety–Precautions, Danger, and Healing

A Quicksand of Grain

Farm Safety Week is a good time to reiterate how dangerous farming can be, and a recent article highlighted that peril in the form of two gripping episodes in Midwest grain bins. On a farm in Iowa, a young man made an “astonishing Lazarus-like emergence from the depths of a grain bin.” His life was saved due to actions taken by friends, and his “whimsical” purchase of a respiratory mask at a farm show. The grain bin safety item turned out to be “the purchase of a lifetime.”

In Wisconsin, a long-time farmer was “lulled to sleep” by the sea of corn he stepped into. Once again friends, family, and–as in many cases–emergency workers helped to free him. Purdue University’s Bill Field is an authority on grain bin accidents, and he emphasizes the dangers of delay following the critical moments of an accident. “Every second is crucial.”

National Farm Safety Week

Farming ranks high on the list of dangerous professions, and every year we read about tractor accidents, grain bin deaths, and other tragedies. Using technology, education, and safety awareness, the agriculture community is working hard to change the grim statistics.

Each year since 1944, the third week of September has been recognized as National Farm Safety and Health Week. This annual promotion–initiated by the National Safety Council–has been proclaimed as such by each sitting U.S. President since Franklin D. Roosevelt. The development and dissemination of National Farm Safety and Health Week is led by the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety, the agricultural partner of the National Safety Council.

It’s What Farmers Do

This archived blog includes many links regarding farm safety incidents, procedures, and statistics. One aspect the statistics can’t show is the way rural communities respond to tragedy. As the final story in this blog shows, accidents occur way too often, and “danger in the fields” is always lurking–but friends and family are there to create a bond of healing.

by dan gogerty (top photo from and bottom graphic from usda)

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