Agriculture #1 for injuries

Working in agriculture should not be taken lightly. Speaking to Nebraska LEAD Group 32 in Omaha on Saturday, Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health Director Risto Rautiainen says agriculture has become the most hazardous industry in the US.

In recent years, agriculture has surpassed mining and transportation as the most dangerous occupation. Over the last 20 years, injuries and fatalities in agriculture have remained steady. Rautiainen says agriculture needs to learn from other industries. He says other industries have invested a lot into safety education, while there aren't a lot of resources to educate farmers about safety and health. He believes that is the reason farm safety has not improved over time.

Rautiainen says the nature of farming is changing as producers take on more land or livestock to make a living, which creates longer work days. Many farmers work multiple jobs onto top of farming or raising livestock, which is stretching producers too thin. Mental and physical fatigue is leading to a bigger injury risk. In Nebraska, agriculture accounts for almost one third of the injuries.

The first step in improving farm safety is taking a inventory of safety and health hazards on the farm. Often times people get used to seeing hazards, but don't do anything about them. Rautiainen says the process begin with identifying risk factors, then fixing them. Rautiainen says with a little attention you can improve the safety on the farm.

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