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Farm Bureau: Seven farmwork-related deaths in Virginia in 2011

Seven lives were reported lost due to farmwork-related accidents in 2011—one more than in 2010.

Tractor overturns accounted for two deaths, tractor or other equipment runovers accounted for two more, and other tractor or equipment incidents resulted in three, according to unofficial statistics from Virginia Farm Bureau.

The organization had no record of 2011 farm deaths from incidents involving animals.

In the 17 years that Farm Bureau has tracked farm deaths and injuries, tractor incidents have accounted for most of the deaths and many injuries. Rollover protective structures and seat belts can help prevent deaths due to tractor overturns.

“All fatalities this year resulted from tractor- or equipment-related accidents, proving that there is still a lot of room for improvement when operating a tractor or any farm machinery,” said Jimmy Maass, Farm Bureau safety manager. “Getting more farmers to install a ROPS and wear seat belts will go a long way toward reducing these numbers.”

Not included in the report were deaths and injuries from incidents involving all-terrain vehicles, which continue to be a problem in Virginia and nationwide. In 2011, six ATV fatalities were reported to Virginia Farm Bureau.

“Without the appropriate safety gear and knowledge that goes along with operating an ATV, riders can be severely injured,” Maass said.

According to Farm Bureau’s cumulative findings since 1994, 105 people have died when their tractors overturned; 58 were involved in unspecified tractor or equipment mishaps; and 45 were run over by tractors or other farm equipment.

Fifty-eight more deaths were attributed to operating farm equipment on public roads and to incidents involving animals or ATVs.

augusta free press
augusta free press