Agriculture is a dangerous occupation and some states are starting to see the sad stats behind it.
Purdue University‘s annual Indiana Farm Fatality Summary recently reported 28 farm-related deaths in 2015, a 10 percent increase from the 2014 total of 25. However, overall trends are still declining.
Statistics were collected by the Purdue University Agricultural Safety and Health Program from news reports, Internet searches, personal interviews, and reports from individuals and Extension educators.
Tractor and farm machinery accidents continue to be the most commonly reported cause of fatal injury, with overturned tractors accounting for 39 percent of deaths in 2015. Other causes of death in 2015 included falling from buildings or horseback, becoming pinned under equipment, being kicked or rammed by an animal, accidental smoke or chemical inhalation, and drowning.
The report highlighted several trends and changes affecting Indiana farm-related injury and death, including an aging workforce, proliferation of small and “hobby” farms, and continued high numbers of accidents involving members of Amish and Old-Order communities.
The overall frequency of fatal farm-related injuries has decreased since 1970, partly due to fewer Hoosiers living and working on farms, the report stated. Other factors contributing to the decline include advancements in machine safety and durability, higher expectations for safe and healthy working environments, reduced reliance on child and youth labor, enhanced awareness of risk management in agriculture, and advancements in emergency medical care.
The ag industry has a fatality rate of 24.9 per 100,000 agricultural workers nationwide, compared with a death rate of 3.3 out of 100,000 for workers across all industries.