Fourteen lives were reported lost due to farm work-related accidents in 2009 in Virginia, eight more than in 2008. Tractor overturns and tractor runovers accounted for six fatalities, while other tractor or equipment issues and animal-related incidents led to another eight, according to unofficial statistics from Virginia Farm Bureau.
At press time, the organization had no reports of 2009 fatalities resulting from collisions involving farm equipment on public roads or farm work-related deaths involving all-terrain vehicles.
For the past 16 years, tractor overturns have led to an average of 6.25 deaths per year. Rollover protective structures and seat belts can help prevent injuries and deaths in the event of an overturn.
“We appeal to the agricultural communities across Virginia to equip their tractors with a ROPS and encourage operators to wear a seat belt,” said Farm Bureau Safety Manager Bruce Stone.
Farm Bureau has kept unofficial records of farm fatalities and injuries occurring in the state since 1994. According to the organization’s 15-year totals, 100 people have died when their tractors overturned; 52 were involved in unspecified tractor or equipment mishaps; and 43 were run over by tractors or other farm equipment. The remaining 56 fatalities were attributed to operating farm equipment on public roads and to incidents involving animals or all-terrain vehicles.
“I encourage every person working in agriculture to think safety each time you are around farm equipment or livestock,” Stone said. “Together we can make the agricultural workplace safer in 2010.”