Better safe than sorry is motto for National Farm Safety Week

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By The Staff

It’s all too easy to become complacent when we’re doing something that’s second nature to us.

Accidents most often happen when we’re doing something we’ve done hundreds - if not thousands - of times before.

But when it comes to farming, that can be especially dangerous.

According to the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety, farmers face a variety of hazardous environmental factors. Weather, terrain and atmospheric conditions all present a host of hazards and risks to agricultural workers.

Farmers and their families live, work and play on the farm. And, sometimes, when we do something often enough, we lose our attentiveness and rely on our own automatic pilot.

Workers 55 years of age and older account for about half of all farm deaths and have fatality rates at least 2.5 times higher than younger workers, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Many reasons exist for these high numbers. Sensory loss, loss in muscle and skeletal strength, slower reaction time and more rapid fatigue all influence injury incidence rates.

The Institute encourages farmers to take rest breaks when tired, use tools, jacks and hoists when moving objects, use assistive devices such as hearing aids when needed to compensate for loss of ability, let family and relatives know plans on a regular basis, use technology like cell phones and two-way radios in case of emergencies and ask for assistance with repairs and unexpected situations.

But life-long farmers aren’t the only ones at risk.

That’s one reason why each September we have National Farm Safety and Health Week.

NECAS officials say some children begin their farming chores at an age earlier than their emotional or physical maturity can safely handle - at times without adequate training or supervision.

Farming has changed over the years, with more machinery to help with more work, and the equipment is bigger, faster and more powerful.

And as bigger and faster equals more power, it can also equal more danger.

Take those few extra precautions and be safe.