St. Joseph Safety and Health Council offer farm safety tips after recent local incident
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BY TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
Local officials shared a message about the safety of the farm in a recent Clinton County agricultural accident that tragically killed a three-year-old boy last Friday.
Authorities say a three-year-old boy was run over by an agricultural tool near Holt on the evening of June 4th. The incident is still being investigated. An online fundraising campaign has now been set up for the family.
St. Joseph Safety and Health Council’s executive director, Sheldon Lyon, says his organization runs an annual course called Safety Acres to teach youth in the area about various agricultural safety practices.
“We are introducing children to some dangers that they may not realize,” said Lyon. “Whether in a grain box or with large machines or pickups in the yard. There are many different ways children can have good intentions but get into trouble. “
The course is held in both St. Joseph and Maryville. The last ones occurred in late April and early May.
Lyon says that during the wheat and oat harvest in late summer, there will be more people with farm implements and more machines on the roads.
“We definitely want to be on the lookout for these big machines on the road this time of year,” said Lyon. “Because they will go from one farm to another. That means they will have short stretches on the freeways, and that means we have to be vigilant and watch out for them. “
Statistics from the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health show that Missouri had over 250 farm-related incidents that resulted in injury between 2012 and 2018. Tractor-related deaths made up 57 percent of that.
Grain bins are another common accident hotspot on the farm, according to Lyon.
“The reason is because kids like to go in and play in the grain and the grain crusts,” he said. “Or someone drills out some grain and then we have a death, or sometimes multiple deaths. It is therefore very important that children understand that garbage cans are there for grain and to play with. “
According to Lyon, most farmers in the region and across the country have been in the industry for years and generally follow proper safety guidelines. But as in any industry that deals with large equipment, accidents can happen to anyone.
“Farmers have been doing this for decades and know what they’re doing,” said Lyon. “But sometimes even the best of intentions can add up to tragedy if we’re not careful.”
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