Farm-Related Fatalities Rise in Indiana

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(file photo courtesy Purdue Extension) (file photo courtesy Purdue Extension)

The annual Indiana Farm Fatality Summary from the Purdue University Agricultural Safety and Health Program says 28 farm-related deaths were reported in 2015, a 10 percent increase from the previous year. The report says, however, the overall picture continues to improve.

The summary says tractor and farm machinery accidents remain the most commonly-reported cause of injury. Overturned tractors were responsible for 39 percent of deaths in 2015. Other causes included falling from buildings or horseback, becoming pinned under equipment and being kicked or rammed by an animal, among others.

Purdue says the number of farm-related injuries and fatalities have decreased since 1970 due to several reasons, including fewer people living and working on farms and advancements in machine safety.

"Achieving zero incidents may be an unrealistic goal, but the record clearly shows that the problem is diminishing, however slowly," said Purdue Extension safety specialist Bill Field and graduate research assistant Yuan-Hsin Cheng in the report. "Many tragic incidents have been prevented during the same time as Indiana farmers have become more productive and efficient than at any time in history."

The report says Indiana's fatality rate among agricultural workers remains below the national rate.

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