Fatality report highlights the many dangers of farming

The grim statistics are a reminder that some everyday activities can also be very hazardous

The language is plain, the numbers clear, and the take-home message is simple — danger is ever present on farms.

Although run-overs, rollovers, and being pinned or struck by machinery account for 369 of the 843 fatalities in the latest Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting report (covering the period from 2003 to 2012), tragedy strikes in many ways.

During that 10-year span, numerous deaths occurred for other reasons: 65 people died in accidents involving animals, 61 after becoming entangled in machinery, 59 in traffic accidents, 73 after being struck by an object, 33 from asphyxia, and 31 after falling. There were also another 152 deaths in 20 other “injury categories.”

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And while two-thirds of fatal accidents occur from May to October, even the winter months each see an average of three to four deaths annually.

Although it is a grim and sobering read, the authors of the report have used coroner and police reports to highlight specific dangers. Among the findings:

  • In 50 per cent of fatal run-over accidents, there was no operator in the machine.
  • Only six per cent of rollovers were attributed to rough terrain but more than half were because the machine (typically a tractor) was being driven too close to the edge of a ditch (or embankment bordering a road or field) or was travelling on a steep incline.
  • Of the 65 deaths caused by animal-inflicted injuries, 35 involved horses and 29 involved cattle.
  • Loose clothing or hair was deemed a major factor in half of all fatalities resulting from entanglement.

The full report can be found at www.casa-acsa.ca.

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