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Farm Safety Week to offer ways to reduce the risks

Guest editorial

Production agriculture and the entire associated agricultural industry are key to our nation’s stability and way of life.

However, agriculture is also a dangerous occupation. Farming, mining, and construction are the three most dangerous occupations and have been for decades. In particular, farmers work outside, with unpredictable situations and resources, and are often working with very powerful machines with many moving parts. One other aspect that increases risk of injuries on the farm is it also usually is a home, with younger children sometimes present.

Sunday through Sept. 26 is National Farm Safety Week, but due to the inherent dangers of farm work, every day needs to have a focus on safety. Nonetheless, the annual Farm Safety Week is an opportunity that all farm families hopefully take to review their safety procedures, find opportunities to reduce injury risk, and ensure that proper training is in place for their family and workers.

The week will have many opportunities to learn about ways to increase on-farm safety. In 2020, these primarily will be webinar options, with a number of them being sponsored by various entities. One national group of agricultural safety professionals sponsoring consistent learning opportunities is the AgriSafe Network.

Two of AgriSafe’s safety week offerings are webinars set Thursday, Sept. 24. From noon to 1 p.m. Central time is a webinar on “Emergency Planning for Farm Operations” and from 2 to 3 p.m. is one regarding “Respiratory Protection Issues in Agriculture: What to Wear and Does it Fit?” Registration is required before these events to receive the link. Interested producers can look up the AgriSafe Network, or send an e-mail to Scott Reuss, Marinette County agriculture agent for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension Division, at scott.reuss@wisc.edu to get the registration link.

The UW-Madison Extension works with producers to help them have access to safety training, safety protocols and up-to-date recommendations on personal protective equipment and other injury-reducing technology. Locally, Reuss offers youth tractor and machinery safety certification, pesticide applicator training, skid steer safety training and is able to work with farms as they develop worker safety training. Additionally, he can assist farms as they conduct hazard assessments, design safer animal care facilities or look for less physically taxing equipment.

Extension’s farm safety resources are able to be accessed through one web hub, at https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/agsafety/ or farms can contact Reuss via the e-mail address above, through the Marinette County office in the courthouse, or at 715-732-7510.

Reuss also notes that all drivers can help farms by paying extra attention during fall and slowing down when approaching farm machinery on the roadway. Farm personnel want to stay safe and not cause issues for other drivers, but their equipment simply isn’t as fast or maneuverable as other vehicles on the roadways.

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