Purdue University’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program has released the Indiana Farm Fatality Summary. The program, which has been monitoring farm-related fatalities in Indiana for nearly 60 years, reported 20 work-related on-farm deaths in Indiana in 2021.
The university says the data shows a decrease from the 25 cases reported in 2020 and marks the fewest cases reported in the past eight years.
Purdue says data shows that tractors are the most common agent in farm-related fatalities, accounting for up to 52% of documented cases over the last decade, with six reported cases in 2021. According to the report, other causes included grain entrapment, equipment runovers and entanglements, and asphyxiation by fumes in confined spaces.
“Historically, farmers over the age of 60, including many who work only part-time, have accounted for a disproportionate number of farm-related injuries. Recent spikes in frequencies of fatalities over the past 10 years make this population of older farmers a special concern,” the report states.
Overally, Purdue says farm fatalities over the last 50 years continue to trend lower, most likely due to safer machinery and work practices, as well as a decline in the number of farmers.
According to the report, males account for most fatalities; only one female fatality was reported last year.
“It is encouraging that the average number of annual farm-related fatalities continues to decline,” said Ed Sheldon, report co-author and Purdue agricultural safety specialist. “That said, in 2021, at least 20 Indiana families and communities felt the devastating impact of losing one of their own to a farmwork-related death. That’s a very somber reminder that we should never become complacent in our efforts to make our farms safer places to live and work.”
You can connect to the full report by clicking here.