Nat'l Farm Health and Safety Week - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Nat'l Farm Health and Safety Week

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This week is National Farm Health and Safety week. It's a reminder for agriculture workers to encourage each other to take extra safety precautions in their fields.

"It's important to know what machinery you're operating and familiarize yourself with gears, the breaks," says Allan Hanley, President of the Yellowstone County Farm Bureau.

Working on a farm is one of the most hazardous industries in the nation.

"Before they start using a new piece of machinery that they look at the operating guide and make sure they understand what the safety features are," says Hanley.

According to a study conducted by the University of Vermont Extension office, ag workers are 800% more likely to die while working than other workers.

"These are powerful machines. So you're looking at amputation of body parts, and crush injuries. If you have a fire or explosion with those machineries, you've just now added a fire component, burn care. And safety is just really an integral part of farm and ranch occupation," says Randi Koehn, Trauma Coordinator at St. Vincent Healthcare.

In addition to equipment, ATV accidents are becoming more prominent on farms.

"They're big. They have lots of power. They're fast. And sometimes when an inexperienced  riders are operating ATVs. it's easy to get into a fix that they can't get out of," says Hanley.

Fatalities and injuries among ag workers are on the rise, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor. But the St. Vincent Healthcare Rural Registry Program is designed to hopefully change that.

"What that is is a database essentially, that we encourage folks that live out in the country, on farms and ranches, to register with us," says T.C. Coble, Chief Flight Nurse at St. Vincent. Farm owners can register their home address, and have it readily accessible to healthcare officials if they need a help flight in an emergency. "The helicopters play a big role in being able to get the care that you would receive out in the larger medical centers, out to the patient in a timely manner."

The Montana Farm Bureau Federation encourages farm workers to be aware of the type of clothing they wear when operating a machine, and where fire extinguishers and shut off systems are located.

To find out more about the Rural Registry Program and to register, click on Connections.