Farm Fatalities and Injuries By the Numbers

Source: ammentorp - 123RF

In the past 3 months in Nebraska, four men have been killed and two injured in farm accidents in Nebraska.

The incidents involved working in a grain bin, cutting down a tree, being attacked by a bull, being thrown from a tractor and ATV, and being electrocuted.

Five of the men ranged in age from 42 to 69 years. The age of the sixth was not reported.

Those incidents only include the ones were reported by the media. Ag Injury News keeps track: During the three month period, they listed 82 incidents nationwide.

According to the Grain Handling Safety Coalition, on average, 167 agricultural workers suffer an injury that results in lost work time each day. About five percent of those injuries result in permanent impairment.

Ellen Duysen, the coordinator for the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, stationed at University of Nebraska Medical Center, said
tractor rollovers are the number one cause of deaths on the farm.

A lot of older tractors still do not have rollover protective structures. That, combined with rough conditions, badger holes in pastures, excessive speed and other situations, can make for a deadly combination.

According to NIOSH, agriculture ranks among the most hazardous industries. Farmers are at very high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries; and farming is one of the few industries in which family members (who often share the work and live on the premises) are also at risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries.

Approximately 2,050,000 full-time workers were employed in production agriculture in the US in 2017.

Approximately 1.4 to 2.1 million hired crop workers are employed annually on crop farms in the US.

An estimated 893,000 youth under 20 years of age resided on farms in 2014, with about 454,000 youth performing farm work.

In addition to the youth who live on farms, an estimated 266,000 youth were hired to work on US farms in 2014.

This winter there may be more of a concern about grain in storage on the farm than usual.

In their December report, the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service reported that 20 percent more soybeans were in storage on the farm in Nebraska than the year before.

Soybeans, corn or other grains can mold due to moisture migration to the top of the bin, especially if they are stored at higher than optimal moisture conditions.

The grain may remain stuck together, forming a bridge, while grain below is transferred out of the bottom of the bin.

A person who enters the bin can fall through and become engulfed quickly, regardless of whether the grain below is flowing.

Further numbers by NIOSH show that:

  • Every day, about 100 agricultural workers suffer a lost-work-time injury.
  • From 2008-2010, 50% of all hired crop worker injuries were classified as a sprain or strain.
  • In 2014, an estimated 12,000 youth were injured on farms; 4,000 of these injuries were due to farm work.

The week of March 3-9 has been designated Ag Safety Awareness Program Week. The U.S. Agricultural Safety and Health Centers have prepared a number of safety videos.

In addition, a grain handling and fall protection educational program is available to communities from now through September.

The training includes demonstrations, interactive discussions, and handouts.

It is intended for farmers, grain company supervisors and employees, community agribusiness leaders, and others.