Farm Safety and Health Week... Not Just for Farmers Anymore Part III

Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the United States, with a death rate of 21.3 per 100,000 workers and approximately 130,000 disabling injuries. However steep the death and injury rates are, it does not include deaths and injuries to others that are not occupationally active in agriculture but occurred as a result of being involved in an incident with some type of farm and ranch equipment. The most common place to be involved in an incident with farm and ranch equipment is on the public roadway system. For this reason, the National Safety Council is targeting rural roadway safety during the National Farm Safety and Health Week. The toll is huge with respect to the communities involved and national productivity of our food supply.

Photo of person walking down the highwayThere are three general types of users of the rural public roadway system: farmers and ranchers, the general public, and persons who use the roadways in an exercise program. This fact sheet will target the pedestrians and bicyclists who the rural public roadways.

Every year many pedestrians (walkers and runners) and bicyclists are injured. For the ages between one and 44, the leading cause of death is by unintentional injury. The leading cause of unintentional injury involves single or multiple vehicles. Therefore, pedestrians and bicyclists need to be aware of strategies to prevent incidents involving vehicles and themselves.

Pedestrians are the most vulnerable users of the roadways as they are the slowest and generally do not wear any protective equipment. The best way to be protected is for the pedestrian to walk against traffic and wear clothes that can be easily seen. At night or in foggy conditions, wear retro reflective material. This type of material can be found at sporting good stores.

When a motorist approaches, the pedestrian (who is walking toward the motorist) should move to the left to let the motorist know that you see their vehicle. MovingPhoto of bike rider on highway to the left also enables the pedestrian to be ready to react faster if the motorist does not give room for the pedestrian. Sharing the road is everyone's responsibility.

Bicyclists should wear all personal protective equipment (PPE) when riding. PPE should include: a helmet, glasses, gloves, and shoes. A rearview mirror can be attached to either the bicycle or the helmet. As bicyclists should travel in the same direction as traffic, rearview mirrors enable the bicyclist to see motorists coming up from behind. Knowing the surroundings is essential to riding safely.

When walking on public roads:

1) Walk against traffic.
2) Be observant of unusual driving behavior.
3) Be ready to move quickly out of the path of an errant vehicle.
4) Wear easily seen clothing.

When riding a bicycle on public roads:

1) Wear all safety equipment, especially helmets.
2) Ride with traffic.
3) Be courteous to drivers.

Patience is a trait that will allow everyone to go home at the end of the day.

Sources of information:

National Education Center for Agricultural Safety
10250 Sundown Road
Peosta, IA 52068
TEL: 1-888-844-6322

National Safety Council
1121 Spring Lake Drive,
Itasca, IL 60143-3201
TEL: 1-800-621-7615

Special thanks to the Bike Shack, Dubuque, IA
Written by: Malcolm L. Legault, Ph.D.

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More