September 14, 2023

Next Week Is National Farm Safety and Health Week

The 2023 National Farm Safety and Health Week, an annual event held to emphasize the importance of working together to protect agricultural workers from injuries and illnesses, will take place Sept. 17–23. This year’s theme is “No One Can Take Your Place,” and participating organizations will focus on several topics throughout the week. For example, one day will focus on protecting “priority populations” including older workers and migrant workers, while another will highlight confined spaces in agriculture. Other daily topics include tractor and rural roadway safety, health and wellness, and brain health. NIOSH’s Centers for Agricultural Safety and Health (Ag Centers) are promoting the week and sharing relevant resources.

Two organizations—the AgriSafe Network, a nonprofit representing health professionals and educators who work to reduce health disparities in the agricultural community, and the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day program, a rural safety and health education program for children in North America—will host several free webinars from Monday, Sept. 18, through Friday, Sept. 22. Webinar topics include preventing the spread of infectious disease in agricultural workplaces, cardiovascular health in farm workers, and confined spaces. A full list of webinars can be found on the website of the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS), the organization that leads National Farm Safety and Health Week.

A promotional toolkit (PDF) for organizations and individuals interested in promoting farm safety and health is available from the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center at the University of Minnesota, one of the NIOSH Ag Centers. The toolkit contains communication tips, suggested social media posts, and a list of related Ag Center resources.

National Farm Safety and Health Week is held during the third week of September to coincide with fall harvest time, one of the busiest and most dangerous seasons for the industry. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agriculture, forestry, and fishing sector has the highest fatal injury rate among private industry sectors. In 2021, the fatal work injury rate for agriculture, forestry, and fishing workers was 19.5 deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. The transportation and warehousing and construction sectors had the next highest fatal injury rates that year, with 14.5 and 9.4 deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, respectively.

More information about National Farm Safety and Health Week 2023 is available from NECAS and from the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center. Learn more about NIOSH’s Ag Centers on the agency’s website.

Related:Point-Source PPE,” a feature article from the December 2015 Synergist, discusses a strategy for controlling noise exposures in agriculture. And a recent SynergistNOW post by Riley Cagle, AIHA’s advocacy associate, highlights the dangers faced by agricultural workers and outlines the industry’s need for occupational and environmental health and safety professionals.