New farm safety website to debut in time for National Farm Safety Week, Sept. 22-26

A new farm safety website, “Telling the Story,” features firsthand accounts by farmers who have been injured or who have lost family members to agriculture-related incidents.
    The website debuts just in time for National Farm Safety Week, Sept. 22-26.
    Some of the stories are painful, but those sharing their farm experiences through the “Telling the Story Project” firmly believe in the website’s tagline—tell a story, save a life. Article topics featured on the site include ATVs, equipment upgrades, falls, farming with injuries, fire, foaming manure and ladder safety.
    “Research indicates that farmers are more open to safety messages after reading about a traumatic farm incident,” said Ellen Duysen, coordinator and outreach specialist for the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health. “Farmers generally consider other farmers and agricultural publications to be trusted sources of information.”
    Tellingthestoryproject.org provides a venue for farmers who have been impacted by fatal and non-fatal agricultural workplace injuries to share their experiences and offer insight for injury prevention.
    “Workers, family and community members have all shared stories through the site,” Duysen said. “The stories are told in their own words. Their experiences help teach us what went wrong and how to avoid similar incidents. They tell their story because we don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”
    Duysen, who raised hogs, cattle and three “rascally boys” on farms in Colorado and Iowa, is one of five team members involved in the site. Her personal farming experience provided understanding of the many farming and ranching hazards.
    While conducting educational outreach with ag communities, Duysen heard many stories of work-related injuries and fatalities.
    She believes stories told by those who had the experiences raises awareness and stimulates conversations about how to prevent similar incidents.
    Fellow team members, Stephanie Leonard, Scott Heiberger, Melissa Ploeckelman, and Aaron Yoder, Ph.D., also work in the agricultural safety and health industry.
    Leonard, who grew up on a northwest Iowa farm, works as an industrial hygienist and occupational safety manager at the University of Iowa.
    She is an outreach team member with the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health (GPCAH), providing health and safety consulting services to a wide range of employers that includes farmers and agribusinesses.
    Heiberger is health communications manager at the National Farm Medicine Center (NFMC) and a member of the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH).

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