Iowa Farm Safety and Health Week continues through Saturday, Sept. 26. Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad proclaimed the special week, held in conjunction with the 72nd annual National Farm Safety and Health Week, in order to highlight agricultural safety and health for all Iowans and their communities.
The Iowa State University-based Iowa Farm Safety Council asked the governor to make the proclamation, according to ISU Extension and Outreach sources. The council is composed of farm operators, industry leaders, insurance providers, safety educators, medical providers and others dedicated to making Iowa a safer place to work and play. They have offices in Ames.
“The week is to commemorate the hard work, diligence and sacrifices of our nation’s farmers and ranchers,” said Charles Schwab, Iowa State University professor and extension ag health and safety specialist in agricultural and biosystems engineering.
This theme of the 2015 Iowa Farm Safety and Health Week is “Ag safety is not just a slogan. It’s a lifestyle.”
The special recognition week began in 1944, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the first proclamation for farm safety in response to the impact the high injury rate in agriculture was making on the war effort.
“During harvest time, the Iowa Farm Safety Council, along with volunteers, strives to increase knowledge about agricultural hazards and dangers,” said Schwab, who is also president of the Iowa Farm Safety Council. “Together we encourage Iowans to make better safety and health decisions this harvest season and during the next year.”
Agriculture is one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S., according to data from the U.S. Labor Department and the Occupational safety and Health Administration. The most recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor indicate that in 2013, farming accounted for 500 fatalities, or 23.2 deaths per 100,000 workers.
The 2015 theme, “Ag safety is not just a slogan. It’s a lifestyle,” aims to remind local and rural communities that farm injuries and fatalities are preventable through education.
The Iowa Farm Safety Council reminds agricultural laborers and others in the state serious injuries and death can be prevented by cautiously approaching field adjustments or repairs, taking precautions to avoid slips and falls, making smart decisions while assigning tasks to youth, using the slow-moving-vehicle emblem correctly and retrofitting tractors with rollover structures.
During Iowa Farm Safety and Health Week, the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta is offering instructional webinars each day at noon on its website, www.necasag.org.
Topics include rural health, rural roadway safety, confined spaces, children’s safety and tractor safety. An AgChat will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 22, from 7 to 9 p.m. on Twitter using the hashtag #agchat.