Group Forms Ag Safety Council

A new organization, the Agricultural Safety & Health Council of America, was recently formed to work toward making farming safer.

Agriculture is consistently among the most hazardous occupations in the U.S., according to Dennis Murphy, Penn State distinguished professor of agricultural safety and health, a founding board member of the new council. In an average year, 516 workers die while doing farm work, and each day about 243 agricultural workers suffer lost-time injuries.

"Agriculture, due to its decentralized nature and diverse structure, lags behind other industries in reducing the toll on its workers with a safety rate that is eight times that of the all-industry average," Murphy said. "The council's mission is to proactively address ongoing and emerging occupational safety and health issues affecting agriculture in the U.S."

The new council, driven by farmer/rancher and agribusiness leaders, is the first of its kind in the country to pursue a national strategy to reduce disease, injuries and fatalities in American agriculture. The group will attempt to influence research priorities to rapidly identify best-management practices for worker safety and health that maximize cost efficiency and sustainability.

A variety of membership packages are available for individuals and organizations. For more information, visit www.ashca.org.

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