Jun 08, 2021 7:33 PM

Farm safety concerns rise in wake of three-year-old death in Clinton County

Posted Jun 08, 2021 7:33 PM
Stock photo.
Stock photo.

By TOMMY REZAC

St. Joseph Post

A recent farming accident in Clinton County that left a three-year-old boy dead last Friday has local officials sharing a message of farm safety.

Authorities say a three-year-old boy was run over by a piece of farm implement near Holt  on the evening of June 4. The incident is still under investigation. An online fundraiser has since been set up for the family.

St. Joseph Safety and Health Council Executive Director Sheldon Lyon says his organization puts on an annual course called Safety Acres to teach area youth on multiple farm safety practices.

"What we do is we introduce kids to some of the dangers they may not realize," Lyon said. "Whether it's in a grain bin or with large machinery or pickup trucks around the farm. There's a lot of different ways kids can have good intentions, but get into trouble."

The course is put on in both St. Joseph and Maryville. The most recent ones occurred in late April and early May.

Lyon says as wheat and oats harvest gets going in late summer, more people will be on farm equipment and more equipment will be on roads.

"For this time of year, we certainly want to watch for those large pieces of machinery out on the roadway," said Lyon. "Because, they will go from one farm to the other. That means they'll have short stints out on the highways out there, and that means we need to be vigilant and watch for them."

Statistics from the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health show there were over 250 farm-related incidents resulting in injury in Missouri from 2012-2018. Tractor-related deaths made up 57 percent of those.

Lyon says another common area of accidents on the farm is grain bins.

"The reason for that is children like to get in there and play in the grain and the grain gets crusted," he said. "Or, someone augers some grain out and then we have a death, or sometimes, multiple deaths. So, it's very important for kids to understand that bins are for grain and to be playing in."

Lyon says most farmers in the region and across the country have been in the industry for years and generally follow the proper safety guidelines. But just like in any industry that deals with large equipment, accidents can happen to anyone.

"Farmers have done this for decades and they know what they're doing," Lyon said. "But, sometimes, even the best intentions can equate to a tragedy if we're not careful."

You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.