The worst possible thing to happen while working on a farm is to be killed, or to have one of your children or another worker or spouse killed. That goes without saying, and without question. However, the next worst thing is to suffer a serious accident which even if it's not life-threatening , may involve years of pain and suffering, plus staggering medical costs.
As part of the Farm Fatality Report for 2011 issued recently, Bill Field, Purdue University farm safety specialist, included a chilling observation. Besides the 23 documented fatalities on Indiana farms in 2010, he estimate there were slightly more than 6,770 non-fatal accidents. Those may range from a few scrapes to a crippling disability, but they emphasize that the problem of getting people to recognize the importance of farm safety goes far beyond just comforting and helping those who lose loved ones.
The injuries in the massive total Field reports were considered as requiring some sort of treatment. The worst of the lot resulted in amputations of severely mangled limbs, spinal cord injuries and brain injuries. Just how costly are these non-fatal accidents to the Indiana economy and farm families?
While 2010 data wasn't available on this particular point, Field points to 2009 data. The feat toll was similar in 2009. Estimates are that non-fatal farm injuries in 2009 cost an average of $1,200. That's per each incident. The economic effect when totaled was over $8.12 million.
That huge figure did not include costs of transportation to receive medical attention, which can be a major factor. Simple ambulance runs are costly, and if a medical helicopter is needed for someone severely injured, the cost is even higher.
This estimate does also not count the cost of replacement labor to help on the farm operation while the person with the injury recuperates. Property damage isn't added into that number- it's a category all its own. Emergency services and long-term rehabilitation costs also aren't part of the $8.12 million total.How can you do your part to help cut down on the number of farm accidents, both fatal and non-fatal accidents? You can get helpful tips for keeping your family safe at one of three Websites. Check out these sites: www.farmsafety.org; www.grainsafety.org; and www.agrability.org.