Company explores farm safety
IDAHO FALLS — Farm safety was emphasized at the InteGrow Malt, LLC, in Idaho Falls last week.
The goal of children's farm safety was to train the trainers — the parents and other adults around children on a farm.
"The farm is the only place where the workplace and living area are one and the same," said Shari Burgus. "As such, children are exposed to the same hazards as their parents are in the workplace."
According to the National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, there were 695 total farm-related youth fatalities on U.S. farms between 1995 to 2000. In 2006, an estimated 3,601 household youth were injured while performing farm work.
Burgus, Education Director with Farm Safety 4 Just Kids, presented four topics of concern for kids and farms — ATV (all-terrain vehicle), irrigation, tractors and grain.
"Young children are at risk because they are curious, lack strength, lack size, lack knowledge, are unaware of dangers and are uncoordinated," Burgus said.
"Youth are at risk because they are risk takers, face peer pressure, are impulsive, experimenters, authority-resistant, lack training, lack knowledge and have a feeling of invincibility," she said.
Dwight Little from Sugar-Salem brought his kids to the workshop. They are Tyler, age 7, and Dyson, age 5. Tyler's friend, Eddie Tojoya, age 7, came along as well.
Little is the District 3 representative on the Idaho Barley Commission.
Speaking of his kids, Little said, "They had a good time."
Little said, "Lots of what she presented is common sense but it may not be common sense to kids.
"When working with electricity, make sure everything is in good working order and grounded," Little said. "Repair it correctly."
For tractor safety, make sure the kids are in full view, he said. Keep kids from touching the hot exhaust and the power take-off.
When the kids are climbing into a tractor, they need to have three points of contact so the kids don't fall on their nose, Little said.
Dangers of an ATV include the the wrong size for the child and too much power. Kids go places they shouldn't go. They go too fast and travel on roads.
"It's common sense for us," Little said, "but maybe not for a child."
When a child rides an ATV, he/she should wear a helmet, gloves and goggles.
Regarding grain storage bins, Little said, "Don't get into a grain storage bin for any reason. It's like pulling a trigger on a loaded gun."
From newspaper clippings collected from 1979-2007, fatalities to children in Idaho under age 18 occurred in the following ways:
* tractor—43 percent
* truck—15 percent
* ATV—11 percent
* machinery—9 percent
* animals—9 percent
* irrigation—8 percent
* hay—5 percent
Tractor-related fatalities to children were pretty evenly divided between being run over (26 percent), overturned (24 percent), fell from (24 percent) and other (26 percent).
Farm Safety 4 Just Kids was founded in 1987 by Marilyn Adams after the death of her 11-year-old son in a gravity flow grain wagon accident. The organization is based in Iowa. More information is available at www.fs4jk.org.