PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Farming claimed the lives of 21 people in Illinois from July 2013 through June, nearly double the number of deaths during the same period a year earlier, according to Bloomington-based Country Financial.
The (Peoria) Journal Star reports the statistics have some calling for more efforts to reduce the injury and fatality rates.
“We need to continue to promote and evaluate effective means to reduce the injury rate,” said Bob Aherin, professor and program leader at the University of Illinois.
There were only 12 farming-related deaths from July 2012 through June 2013.
The highest farm death toll in recent years was in 2000, when 39 people died, Country Financial spokesman Chris Stroisch said. More than 200 Illinois farmers are injured in accidents that result in physical disabilities each year.
Nine of the state’s 21 farm-related deaths over the past year were due to tractor accidents. Roadway collisions and grain bin accidents are also major causes of death.
Aherin said older farmers should be encouraged to use tractors with rollover protection when working on areas with significant slopes. Fifty-seven percent of farm death victims in Illinois were 65 or older.
For the past decade, agriculture has been the deadliest industry in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, beating out mining and construction in deaths per 100,000 workers. It’s the same on a global scale, according to the International Labour Organization, with more than half of the 335,000 workplace fatalities worldwide occurring in agriculture.