Indiana had 21 work-related deaths on farms deaths last year, the fewest number of documented cases since 2013, Purdue University announced on Sept. 22.
Three of the victims were children under the age of 5, while 11 were 60 or older, Purdue’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program announced.
“Every one of these lives mattered to someone. Each one was an added cost to the food we enjoy every day,” said Bill Field, a Purdue agriculture and biological engineering professor and extension safety specialist who has summarized over 1,100 farm fatalities during his career.
Tractors and skid steer loaders were involved in at least eight of the 21 documented fatalities, it said.
“The continued incidence of tractor rollovers indicates that a greater focus on the value of Rollover Protection Structures — especially on tractors used for mowing — could prove beneficial,” the report said.
The report also highlighted the continued need for injury prevention educational programs for those 18 and younger.
The number of farm fatalities for the past 50 years continued a downward trend, probably reflecting safer machinery and work practices while also corresponding with a decline in the number of farmers, the report said.
No Indiana agency documents farm-related non-fatal injuries, but research has shown that about one in every nine Indiana farms has a farm-work-related injury incident that requires medical attention each year, it said.
This article was first published in Insurance Journal.