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Before fall harvest, NC farms look for new safety strategies

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Every year in North Carolina we hear about a few farming accidents. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, agriculture is the most dangerous industry in the country. Each year approximately 21 people in every 100,000 die on the job. That amounts to 475 farm-related deaths each year.

In an effort to bring that number down, this week has been named Farm Safety and Health Week by Gov. McCrory. In connection with this week of awareness and action, the North Carolina Agromedicine Institute is urging our state’s farmers to think about how they could improve safety on their farms. Farmers in North Carolina also have the option of using state resources.

Recently, the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission granted AgriSafe of North Carolina and Certified State Farm programs a $300,000 grant. The programs plan to use the money to conduct safety reviews of local farms, health screenings of farm workers, and help farmers come up with new ways to prevent on-the-job injuries. All types of farmers will be able to benefit from the program, and heath care professionals and others will help make sure solutions are tailored to each farmer’s specific needs.

As we reach the end of Farm Safety and Health Week here in North Carolina, hopefully these great efforts to improve safety on farms will continue year-round. One of the most important industries in our state should not continue to be one of the most dangerous occupations. It will be interesting to see what kinds of solutions farmers and those who are helping them come up with.

Source: Elkin Tribune, “N.C. celebrates Farm Safety and Health Week with program grant,” Sept. 19, 2013