WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — The downward trend of Indiana’s farm-related fatalities continued in 2013 as the state saw 18 deaths, according to a Purdue University report.
The total is eight fewer than were reported in 2012, giving Indiana fewer than 30 documented deaths from farm-related accidents each year since 1996, according to the Indiana Farm Fatality Summary, which was released last week. Before that, more deaths were common going back to at least 1970, with two years having at least 50.
“Achieving zero incidents may be an unrealistic goal, but the record clearly shows that something is working and that many tragic incidents have been prevented during the same time as Indiana farmers have become more productive and efficient than at any time in history,” the report said.
Indiana also has seen a steady decline in the number of farm fatalities involving children and others younger than 21. Only one documented victim in 2013 was under the age of 21 — a 15-year-old boy who died when a tractor overturned in northern Indiana’s Elkhart County.
The report cites several possible factors in the decline in farm-related deaths, including the decrease in number of people living and working on farms, improvements in the safety of farm equipment and less use of youth labor.
Accidents were documented in the following counties in 2013: Bartholomew (2), Dearborn, Dubois, Elkhart, Fountain, Franklin, Fulton, Hancock, Hendricks, Howard, Kosciusko, Lake, LaPorte (2), Lawrence, Marshall and Posey. Those included suffocation in a grain bin, falling from a tractor and a concrete silo and being struck by farm equipment, among other causes. Three people died from being hit by a falling tree.