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Farm Safety Through the Camera's Eye

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 14(3): 321-332. (doi: 10.13031/2013.24566) @2007
Authors:   D. B. Reed, D. T. Claunch, C. J. Haurylko
Keywords:   Agriculture, Farm publications, Photographs, Safety

Farms and ranches constitute one of the most hazardous work environments in America, and perhaps in the world, yet farm scenes are often portrayed as tranquil, picture-perfect settings. A review of 293 photographs that included persons and tractors, livestock, powered equipment, all-terrain vehicles, or bodies of water was undertaken by two independent reviewers. Predetermined criteria that captured best safety practices in agriculture were applied to each photograph. A rating of 1 (best practices), 2 (unsafe practices) or 3 (mixed messages) was given to each photograph. Three popular farm periodicals with various geographic distribution areas across the U.S. were examined. Issues from June 2005 through October 2006 were included in the review. Results revealed that only 56.7% of the photographs illustrated best practices for safety. Of the 27 photographs that included children, only 18.5% depicted best practices. Photographs in advertisements, where the settings can be staged, illustrated best practices 56.5% of the time. Editors, photojournalists, and advertisers should take every opportunity to promote safety in this high-risk industry through portrayal of safe work practices and safe work environments in photographs that are used in farm periodicals.

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