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Protecting Safety and Health in Agriculture

America’s agricultural workers face many challenges as they try hard to provide the food, fiber, and fuel that we need. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the agriculture industry is consistently at the highest risk of occupational injury and fatalities, with 574 fatalities in 2018, or an equivalent of 23.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. In fact, right now, fall harvest time can be one of the busiest and most dangerous seasons of the year for this industry.

National Farm Safety and Health Week
National Farm Safety and Health Week
September 20-26, 2020
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and its extramural (grant-funded) centers for Agricultural Safety and Health (Ag Centers) are recognizing National Farm Safety and Health Week.This week emphasizes the importance of working together to prevent injuries and illnesses among agricultural workers.The Ag Centers developed a toolkit to promote and provide safety resources aligned with the daily themes of National Farm Safety and Health Week. Learn more about the toolkit and National Farm Safety and Health Week.

By working together to increase awareness of the safety and health issues facing agriculture workers, we can prevent them from experiencing injuries and illnesses.

Large, wheeled farm machinery processing crops in a field
National Farm Safety Week & Health Week, September 20-26, 2020. LOGO USASHC

Farm Safety and Health Facts

  • There’s plenty of farm equipment on the roads these days. Good lighting and marking on machinery could reduce farm vehicle traffic incidents by more than half.
  • Whole body vibration, when the shaking motion of a vehicle spreads through the body, is associated with many health effects, like cramping, low back problems, and increased heart rate & blood pressure.
  • What puts kids at risk on the farm? Their age, size, and more…The farm is a great place for kids, if done safely. Learn more.
  • Grain engulfment happens in seconds and can result in a lifetime of pain. When you prepare for an emergency, you may save a life.
  • Are you worrying more, feeling anxious or irritable, or just forgetting important things? Farm Stress is real. Learn the signs and symptoms.

Resources for Farmer Safety and Health

NIOSH is committed to preventing work-related injuries and illnesses among U.S. agricultural workers. NIOSH has an extensive Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (AgFF) Research Program, which addresses the high risks of injuries and illnesses experienced by workers in this industry.

NIOSH also supports extramural research and prevention programs, known as the Centers for Agricultural Safety and Health or Ag Centers, in 11 states providing resources to 45 states. These programs conduct research on injuries associated with agriculture, as well as pesticide exposure, pulmonary disease, musculoskeletal disorders, hearing loss, and stress.

Check out the links below for more information about the NIOSH AgFF program and other NIOSH-related resources.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Agricultural Safety
Centers for Agricultural Safety and Health