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News - Farm Safety & Health Week

  • September 15, 2010

Kentucky Farm Bureau joins the efforts of the National Safety Council and National Educational Center for Agricultural Safety to celebrate the 67th observation of National Farm Safety & Health Week, September 19-25, 2010. Keeping the theme of the week in mind – “ATVs: Work Smart. Ride Safe.” – the staff of Kentucky Farm Bureau and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture have partnered to produce a “Pep Rally for Life” for the students of Shelby County High School on Wednesday, September 22 at 1:30pm.

The event, held on the Shelby County High School football field, will emphasize safety first practices through a selection of exhibits, feature a full-scale mock ATV accident response, and include pep rally-oriented performances from the high school’s choir, ROTC Color Guard, marching band and cheerleaders. Student actors will play the part of the victims, members of the Shelby County Fire and EMS will portray the accident’s responders, and Air Methods of Kentucky will fly a helicopter onto the field and provide an airlift rescue for the victim. The Department of Agriculture’s staff will narrate the event, explain what safety precautions were overlooked leading up to the accident and offer details of what is happening during the rescue demonstration.

“Most, if not all, of these students will someday have an opportunity to ride on an ATV,” said Randy Chrisman, Chair of Kentucky Farm Bureau’s Safety & Rural Health Advisory Committee. “If this event can make students think twice about how to safely operate an ATV and we save just one life in the process, our time here will have been a huge success.”

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports, ATV safety is an important theme for Kentuckians. Kentucky currently ranks as the third-highest state for ATV fatalities in the most recent reporting period, 2006-2008, with 111 ATV-related deaths.

Across the United States, ATV accidents were responsible for 410 fatalities and an estimated 135,100 injuries in 2008 alone – nearly 38,000 of those injuries involving children under the age of 16. Awareness, attention to age-appropriate use, and education through efforts like National Farm Safety & Health Week are essential to decreasing the number of injuries and fatalities linked to ATV accidents.

While farm safety is an item of year-round importance to Kentucky Farm Bureau, the organization joins farmers across the state and country each September to designate a week that focuses the nation’s attention to the hazards of working in an agricultural setting. President Franklin D. Roosevelt saw the importance of such efforts when he signed the first National Farm Safety Week proclamation in 1944, and the week has been recognized by presidential proclamation from every president since then. Acting out those safe practices, however, is the responsibility of every individual.

“We encourage everyone to take safety seriously, whether riding an ATV, working on the farm or simply spending time around the home,” added Chrisman. “No one looks for accidents, but we want people to get in the habit of looking for ways to avoid them.”

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