WSIL — As fall approaches you’re probably seeing farmers and equipment out for harvest season. This week is being recognized as National Farm Safety and Health Week.
Each year since 1944 the third week of September has been recognized as "National Farm Safety and Health Week and this year’s theme is "Shift Farm Safety into High Gear."
Local Farmer, Gary Tretter, says, "It’s about safety on the highway and safety on the farm, you know, being safe with the machinery when you’re operating it and also when you’re on the highway."
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports The Agriculture Sector is still the most dangerous in America, resulting in over 500 fatalities each year.
Tretter explains, "Harvest machinery has historically been more dangerous than any other machinery around the farm or at least more accidents involved so that’s a lot of the reason for bringing this to everyone’s attention now ."
Tretter says another reason for bringing this to people’s attention is harvest season is beginning which mean more farmers and equipment will be out on the roadways.
Tretter elaborates, "Farmers don’t want to be on the highway, I know a lot of people think we’re in the way but we really have no choice, it’s the only way we’ve got to get to field to field."
The bulky machinery may take up quite a bit of room on the roads but farmers ask that you be patient and they will be back on the road in their pick up trucks in no time.
Tretter explains, "The farm machinery doesn’t operate like an automobile they’re more like a train or a tractor trailer, they don’t stop fast and they don’t take off fast and they don’t dodge anything fast."
Tretter says that slowing down around farming equipment is important but farmer’s also have to do their part by keeping the equipment’s flashing lights and reflectors in good condition.
Tretter elaborates, "Those lights draw attention and you want to make sure they’re all on to draw attention to yourself so that people know where you’re at way out in the distance."
The Illinois Department of Agriculture will highlight issues and topics related to National Farm Safety and Health Week every day on its social media pages.