Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig encouraged Iowans to keep safety in mind whether working on the farm or traveling through rural Iowa this harvest season. National Farm Safety and Health Week is this week and the theme is “Cultivating the Seeds of Safety.”
“Fall is an exciting time with lots of activity on our farms and traffic on our rural roadways. It is important that everyone is taking the steps to ensure we have a safe and successful harvest season,” Naig said.
The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) has additional safety information for the week available at www.necasag.org/nationalfarmsafetyandhealthweek/. Topics highlighted this week included:
· Monday – Rural Roadway Safety
· Tuesday – Health/Suicide/Opioids
· Wednesday – Child/Youth Health and Safety
· Thursday – Confined Spaces in Agriculture
· Friday – Tractor Safety
“National Farm Safety and Health Week is a great way to focus more attention on these devastating injuries, especially during harvest season when we often see an uptick in incidents. But, it’s also important to remember that agricultural safety and health is an issue all year,” said Brandi Janssen, Director of the Iowa Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH). “Improving safety on any job site requires constant attention to ensure that everyone gets home safely at the end of the day.”
Unfortunately, accidents and injuries remain too common within the agriculture industry. Surveillance by the Iowa Department of Public Health shows that while agriculture accounts for just 5 percent of Iowa’s workforce, ag workers sustained 32 percent of the occupational injuries. In fact, about 8 percent of Iowa’s agricultural workforce suffered a non-fatal injury in 2016.
I-CASH works to improve safety and health on Iowa’s farms by establishing and coordinating prevention and education programs. Their efforts include seasonal safety campaigns with information distributed quarterly through Iowa State Extension and Outreach and Farm Service Agency offices, grants to community youth groups for farm safety-related projects, seminars and workshops to diverse rural audiences on a variety of agricultural safety and health topics and a number of other programs.
I-CASH is a collaborative effort between the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
More information about I-CASH can be found at www.i-cash.org.