The national safety council lists agriculture as 2008's most dangerous industry, with more than 700 deaths and 120,000 disabling injuries a year.
Leslie Holland head of St. Mary's Trauma Center says that 14 percent of all pediatric trauma admissions are kids who've injured themselves on a farm or a ranch. Physically demanding tasks, using machinery, proximity to animals, and exposure to toxins and chemicals make farming an inherently dangerous occupation, but Farmer Bob of Alida’s says that using safe practices and commonsense is key. He says, "most your accidents today are caused by carelessness."
Injury rates are highest for children under 19 and adults over 65. Nearly 25 percent of fatal injuries for children involved machinery and tractors; another 20 percent includes motor vehicles like ATV’s. Most injuries for those over 65 is because or hearing and eye sight loss and because reaction time is slowed. Making things worse Farmer Bob says is that most farmers cannot afford to carry workman's comp.
He says "if they have a catastrophic accident that costs them hundreds of thousands of dollars, 9 out of 10 of them (farmer’s) are done."
Farmers pay for injuries in more ways than one; they pay through delays in production, the cost of medical treatment and rehabilitation, and the cost of replacing a worker.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health urges farmers to take the time and money needed to create a safer environment, rather than have someone pay the ultimate price with their life.