Agriculture workers learn safety tips to prevent on-the-job injuries
YAKIMA, Wash. - Agriculture workers are six times more likely to die on the job from falls and improper handling of machinery, according to the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center.
Manager Marcy Harrington said it's important to educate our community on safety measures because it affects many of them.
"The agricultural industries are unfortunately hazardous," Harrington said. "I think that we have a large workforce right here in Washington and really a great I would say compared to other states, a pretty good education system."
According to their research, agriculture injuries cost the United States an estimated $7.6 billion in medical and lost productivity costs.
Chairman of Ag Safety Day Michael Peterson said their goal is to educate workers on safety to lower the risk of accidents and fatalities.
"The big issue that we feel is that one accident, one fatality, is one too many," Peterson said. "That applies to agriculture as well as any industry in Washington State."
Peterson said when an injury does occur the most important thing to do is report it but he said, too often injuries in the fields or orchards aren't reported at all.
Some things you can do to stay safe is to make sure your ladder is stable before climbing up it. Also, when operating machinery be aware of who or what is around you.
Harrington said their research center works to develop educational materials and solutions. One of their newest development they are testing out is an app that translates safety information on pesticide labels, that are often only in English.
"I believe we should have a tool like this because of the importance of knowing the pesticide label content," she said. "The label is the law, it has all the required information on how to stay safe and working with pesticides so having that available in Spanish is important to people."
Harrington said they hope to launch the app by April in time for harvest season.
If you're interested in learning more about agricultural safety another workshop is being held on February 28 in Wenatchee at the convention center.