Report: Virginia saw increase in farm-related deaths in 2012

farm-droughtTen lives were reported lost due to farm work-related accidents in Virginia during 2012—three more than in 2011.

Tractor runovers accounted for four deaths; unspecified tractor or equipment incidents resulted in three; tractor overturns accounted for one; an all-terrain vehicle accident resulted in one; and an animal-related incident accounted for one, according to unofficial statistics from Virginia Farm Bureau.

For the past 18 years, deaths resulting from tractor incidents have accounted for the majority of farm accident fatalities.

“Eighty percent of the fatalities this year resulted from tractor- or equipment-related accidents, so there is still a lot of room for improvement when operating a tractor or any farm machinery,” said Farm Bureau Safety Manager Jimmy Maass. “Getting more farmers to make tractor and equipment safety a priority will go a long way toward reducing these numbers.

“When working on the farm, it is so important to take a few extra minutes to make sure you are operating or working as safely as possible. Being cautious will save you so much more in the long run.”

In addition to the one farm-related ATV fatality, two additional ATV fatalities that were not farm-related were reported to Farm Bureau.

“ATVs are very useful for a lot of tasks—and they can be a lot of fun—but there also are a lot of dangers associated with these heavy machines,” Maass said. “Without appropriate safety gear and training, riders can be severely injured.”

According to Farm Bureau’s cumulative findings since 1994, 107 people have died in the state when their tractors overturned; 61 were involved in unspecified tractor or equipment mishaps; and 49 were run over by tractors or other farm equipment. The remaining 61 fatalities were attributed to operating farm equipment on public roads and to incidents involving animals or ATVs.

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