Certified Safe Farm

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Agriculture ranks among the most hazardous industries in the world. Working with heavy equipment, live animals, and various other tasks around the farm create ample opportunities for accidents to occur. Farm workers are at very high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries. According to a recent study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 374 farm workers died from work-related injuries resulting in a fatality rate of 20.2 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2012. Tractor overturns were the leading cause of death for farmers and farm workers. The study also showed on average 113 youth, less than 20 years of age, die annually from farm-related injuries (1995-2002) with most occurring between the ages of 16 and 19 (34 percent). Everyday, an estimated 167 agricultural workers suffer a lost-work-time injury.

Many of you reading this article may have experienced growing up or working on a farm at some point in your life. In fact, you’re probably thinking back on the “close calls” you may have experienced or witnessed, which may have been embedded in your memory for life. Those “I’ll never forget the day when…” stories are all too familiar among the agricultural community. Even with advancements in technology and farm safety equipment, farm-related injuries and deaths still occur.

I am pleased to say North Carolina Cooperative Extension is now a major part of an intervention program called Certified Safe Farm (CSF), which was designed to reduce the rate of injuries and illnesses in the agricultural population. Certified Safe Farm is a voluntary, non-regulatory program focused on saving lives, improving health, and lowering cost on North Carolina farms through unique partnerships with the AgriSafe Network of North Carolina and the North Carolina Agromedicine Institute. CSF and AgriSafe were developed and proven successful through research at the University of Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health.

In 2009, the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission (NCTTFC) funded a successful pilot program in Duplin, Johnston, and Sampson Counties. This year, with additional funding from NCTTFC, the CSF Program has been expanded to 18 additional counties including Alexander, Anson, Ashe, Craven, Franklin, Gates, Granville, Hoke, Randolph, Robeson, Rowan, Scotland, Stanly, Union, Vance, Warren, Watauga, and Wilson.

The program offers four simple components:

–      On-farm safety reviews conducted by participating Cooperative Extension Centers

–      Occupational health screens by AgriSafe personnel

–      Personalized and group education

–      Incentives and benefits for N.C. farms

If you are interested in lower insurance cost, lower health cost, fewer injuries, better health, fewer lost work days, and a safer farm, contact a participating Cooperative Extension Center to become a Certified Safe Farm today!

For more information, please contact Keith Walters, County Extension Director with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Hoke County Center, at        (910) 875-3461, by e-mail at keith_walters@ncsu.edu , or visit our website at https://hoke.ces.ncsu.edu/. North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.