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Milestone Reached in Farm Safety and Health Education Effort

We all hear the horror stories of losing a loved one to a farm-related incident. The families left behind ponder what would have happened “if only.” If only he had been more careful, if only she wasn’t in such a hurry, if only we had known.

Moved by stories of farming-related tragedies, Jack Odle, editor of The Progressive Farmer, launched an effort in 1995 to help prevent unintentional death on the farm. This effort evolved to become the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® Program. Now in its 17th year, the effort has reached its one millionth participant and is continuing the mission of eliminating farm injury and death by providing education and training to make farm, ranch and rural life safer and healthier for children and their communities through its Safety Day program.

Today, Safety Days are made possible by the Progressive Agriculture Foundation® (PAF), an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit with a board of directors from within the agriculture industry and an operating budget of $2.6 million. The program’s curriculum has grown from basic farm safety to also include a focus on rural issues like hunting, ATV usage and even childhood obesity. While the Foundation’s leadership is proud to hit the millionth participant mark, they stress there is still much to be done. PAF hopes to reach its second-millionth participant within the next 10 years.

“The number of children injured each year on farms has declined 59 percent since 1998, but there were still 15,012 farm injuries to children reported in 2009,1” says Bob Marshall of Bunge North America and PAF board president. “We view even one injury as one too many. The educational outreach of the Safety Day program is one of the efforts that has made this decline possible. We plan to work hard to do even more in the coming 10 years with the generous support of our many new and long-term sponsors who donate both financially and with employee resources.”

In addition to loyal sponsors, the program is largely made possible by a volunteer base that contributes time and skills to help run individual Safety Day events. “We can’t thank our volunteers enough,” says Susan Reynolds, executive director — programs for PAF. “We would not be able to reach as many children as we do without their gifts of time and resources.” In 2011 alone, approximately 18,000 volunteers have helped with PAF efforts. As many as 230,000 volunteers have helped throughout the last 17 years.

The core mission of the Safety Day program is simple: to keep children safe and healthy. By focusing on topics that are relevant to children in rural areas, the Safety Day program has successfully reached over one million children and volunteers, and averages 400 Safety Day events a year, all over North America and the U.S. territories.

For more information about PAF and to support the cause, go to www.progressiveag.org.

Read this entire press release here.

Grain Safety on the Farm

The following post is brought to you by Progressive Ag Foundation in support of National Farm Safety and Health Week:

The 2011 harvest will soon be under way, and with National Farm Safety and Health Week occurring Sept. 18–24 here in the US, now is a good time to remind children everywhere how dangerous grain can be during harvest and throughout the year as it is transported and stored on the farm. Grain safety is often a high-priority topic during Progressive Agriculture Safety Days®, which teaches children 8 to 13 years of age things they need to know to remain safe and healthy on a farm or ranch.

Though grain may not seem to be an obvious risk on a farm or ranch, the dangers of grain during harvest, transport and storage may be deadly. Adults and children alike die every year from grain incidents that are highly preventable. 2010 was a record year for grain-related deaths. Fifty-one grain accidents occurred and 25 people died — five being children under the age of 16. The most common occurrences include suffocation when grain bridges collapse, or being trapped by flowing grain or by an avalanche of a vertical grain wall.

Grain safety is a high-priority topic.

“In a matter of 10 seconds, one can lose their life in flowing grain,” says Bernard Geschke, program specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation® (PAF). “Across agriculture, grain-related deaths occur far too often, and we believe it is critical to have this often unrecognized danger be a part of our education program.”

What can parents teach their children to help them avoid a grain-related injury or death?

1.      Always stay out of and away from grain bins and grain wagons even if grain isn’t flowing. Bridged grain can unexpectedly collapse and submerge humans. It only takes three or four seconds for a human to become completely helpless in flowing grain.

2.      Never try to save someone who is being entrapped by going into the grain yourself. Attempting to rescue someone without proper equipment and assistance may result in you being entrapped as well.

3.      Always use a harness or rope and have a spotter when walking or working around grain. This way, your spotter can help pull you to safety or stop the flow of grain.

Safety tips such as these are examples of the things children learn when they attend Progressive Agriculture Safety Days, which are held each year in more than 400 local communities throughout North America. Check out the video below to learn more about the dangers of grain entrapment.

Harvest Hazards

In the spirit of National Farm Safety and Health Week here in the United States, AGCO would like to share a message with everyone from Farm Safety 4 Just Kids. Make sure to visit our Safety tab to learn more about keeping your farm safe.

The shorter days of fall puts farmers and ranchers in a race against the clock during harvest. Factor in weather conditions and working hours always seem to be at a premium. With time and money on the line, a farm accident would grind harvest to stand still.

A little preparation can go a long way in preventing accidents. Planned maintenance and skilled equipment operation can minimize downtime and reduce potential for mishaps during harvest.

In addition manufacturers, like AGCO, have taken great strides to build safety features into equipment; however some potential hazards simply can’t be eliminated. Use guards and shields when possible and make sure everything is in working order.

The pressure of harvest often leads to fatigue, another major factor in farm accidents. Take your time and think safety. You can’t afford not to.

A few more things that will help make your harvest season a safe one for the entire family:

• Carry out preseason maintenance and repair several weeks before harvest.

• Clear plugged equipment only after the engine is turned off.

• All guards and shields should be secured before equipment is started.

• Wear comfortable, close-fitting clothing, including sturdy, protective shoes.

• Teach kids not to approach machinery while the engine is running and not to play on equipment.

• Always let someone else know where you’re working. Check in regularly.

• Avoid sleep deprivation and extreme physical exhaustion.

• Drugs or alcohol can impede safety.

Cheers to a save and abundant harvest!

The Power of Electricity

This is another great farm safety message brought to you by Farm Safety 4 Just Kids. Electricity is powerful. Agriculture relies on electricity to keep the barn lights on, to run equipment and to turn the alarm clock on every morning. Electricity is also a powerful hazard on the farm, one that demands respect.The Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives teaches farm safety at the Mammouth Cave Farm Safety 4 Just Kids chapter's safety day.

Lack of knowledge and skill are the leading cause of incidents involving electricity. Teach children how electricity works, and what types of materials conduct electricity and which ones don’t.

Once youth are old enough, trained and qualified to drive farm equipment, teach them to lower things like augers before crossing under a power line. It’s also important to teach them to stay in the vehicle if they become entangled in an over head power line. If you’ve explained how electricity works, they’ll know touching the machinery while stepping on the ground will complete the circuit.

In addition, make sure overhead power lines are well maintained and have adequate clearance to avoid these situations.

Here are a few more electricity safety tips:

• Keep face plates on switches and outlet

• Keep electrical panels free of dust and debris

• Keep electrical panels covered to reduce shock and fire hazard

• Use properly maintained tools and equipment that is double insulated

• Do not use electrical tools around water

• Equip the shop area with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters and use 3-prong grounding plugs

• Use undamaged electrical cords and do not carry tools by their cords

• Grip the plug, not the cord, to unplug a tool

• Switch off and unplug a tool before you change parts or clean it, or if it begins to smoke or burn

• Instruct children in proper behavior around and respect of electricity

Keep everyone safe around electricity. Prevent the electricity we need so much from harming the ones we love the most.

For more information about farm safety, visit http://www.fs4jk.org/.

Manure Storage

Question: When someone is overcome by manure gases, it is important for you to get that person out of the area as quickly as possible. True or False?

Answer: False. As animal wastes break down, several gases are produced. These gases are often trapped in manure storage structures that do not have proper ventilation. Of these gases, hydrogen sulfide is the most dangerous and is responsible for the most manure-related deaths of both animals and people. In low concentrations, this gas smells like rotten eggs. But at higher concentrations, it paralyzes the sense of smell. Within seconds of exposure, hydrogen sulfide can cause unconsciousness and then death.

NEVER try to rescue someone who is unconscious in a manure storage structure unless you have proper equipment and knowledge of the situation. Instead, call 911 or your local emergency medical service.  Multiple deaths from manure gases are common because rescuers succumb to the same gases as the victim. It is important that children stay away from manure storage areas. Fencing/child-proofing the area is highly recommended.

This farm safety tip is provided by the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® program.  For information on how you can keep your child safe and healthy on the farm, ranch and at home, go to www.progressiveag.org. To view a complete list of Progressive Agriculture Safety Days taking place in 2011, visit http://coordinator.progressiveag.org/cgi-bin/MySQLdb?VIEW=/safetydays/view.txt.

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