Farming ranked as most dangerous job

By Tayleigh Davis - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - One of the most important jobs to south Georgia's economy is also one of the most deadly jobs in the country.

More than 300 farmers died on the job last year. That makes farming the seventh most dangerous job.

Cotton's ripe for the pickin' at a farm in Doerun. However, since the margin per acre is down, farmers are working longer hours, and using bigger equipment to harvest more crops.

Farm specialist Gene Hart says heavier equipment can be more dangerous.

"It's easy if somebody is unaware and they come up on them they may pull up on one of the machines," Hart said. "Before you know it, it backs up and someone could easily get run over as well."

To keep from getting run over, Hart says it's important for his men to talk to each other.

"Communication is key, and when you have this many pieces of equipment they'll have walkie talkies where they can talk to one another," Hart noted.

There are three different machines involved. First they pick the cotton, then dump it into boll buggeys, and they put it into large modules which pack down the cotton.

Hart says a couple years ago one of his farmers was driving a tractor across a bridge when he collided with a log truck. Because the tractors are wider, it's important for vehicles to use caution when passing.

"It messed the truck up and totaled the picker," Hart added.

He asks drivers to respect the "slow moving vehicle" sign which means expect speeds of 25 miles per hour or less.

"It's hard on them (farmers). I know some people don't understand but they have to move slow down the road," Hart said. "They're just trying to make a living and they need the equipment to do it."

Hart says if drivers use caution while sharing the roads and farmers communicate better in the field, injuries and fatalities can be avoided.

The government's Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps up with on the job deaths. Last year, nearly 5,100 Americans were killed at work. That's down from 2007. The most likely to die are: fishermen, loggers, and pilots.

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