The International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health this week will kick off the National Farm Safety and Health Week, which runs Sept. 15-21. The 2013 theme is "Working together for safety in agriculture."
ISASH says even as fatalities in agriculture continue to decline, the fatality rate remains the highest of any sector at 21.2 fatal injuries per 100,000 FTE workers in 2012, according to data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting fatalities decreased 16% to 475 in 2012 from 566 in 2011. This follows a 9% drop in agriculture fatalities in 2011. Fatal injuries in the crop production, animal production, forestry and logging, and fishing sectors were all lower in 2012.
"These figures are especially relevant during harvest season, as farmers are putting in long hours under the stress of weather delays, equipment breakdowns, and high operating costs," ISASH President Chris Shivers said. "We urge farmers to set priorities to reduce the risk of injury to themselves, their family and their employees."
Shivers added that the theme for the week underscores the importance of agricultural stakeholders working together to build a safer and healthier agricultural work place, and defines the organization's membership, which consists of engineers, educators, insurers, physicians, nurses, veterinarians, statisticians, communicators, business leaders and others, many with extensive farm backgrounds.
President Obama Friday in his official proclamation of the week, reiterated the efforts of ISASH, and highlighted agriculture's importance to the economy.
"During National Farm Safety and Health Week, we celebrate our agricultural producers' values, experiences, and contributions, and we recommit to secure work environments in all our country's farms," the proclamation said. "I encourage agricultural producers and their families and communities to participate in comprehensive farm safety and health programs, take precautions, and prepare themselves for emergencies."
The President also called on agencies that serve agriculture and extension services to promote safety and health efforts.
"I also urge Americans to honor our agricultural heritage and express appreciation to our farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers for their contributions to our Nation," he wrote.
For more information on the week's activities, visit www.isash.org.