Life-Saving FHSU Agriculture Training

According to data published in 2021 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in agriculture experienced one of the highest fatal injury rates in the nation. Averaging 20 deaths per 100,000 workers, the rate in this field was nearly five times the fatal injury average nationwide.

According to Fort Hays State University, its Department of Agriculture is working to prepare the next generation of agriculture professionals to reverse the rate of injuries and fatalities in the field. FHSU was the first university in the nation to implement Safety Made Simple, an online and on-demand agriculture safety program. This program features a variety of specific areas of safety focus, including the danger of grain dust explosions, avoiding heat stress, preventing falls from machines and structures, treating and handling livestock, and safely operating all-terrain vehicles.

Safety Made Simple is the brainchild of Chuck Pirie, an experienced agriculture risk management professional who created the program in response to international clients’ requests to make his training accessible to employees in a 24-hour, on-demand format. Since its inception, more than 1,000,000 courses have been completed.

FHSU Agriculture Professor Dr. Brittany Howell led the effort to implement Safety Made Simple in her department. She is a firm believer in the value of the Safety Made Simple model.

“I have known personally more than one of our graduates who have been tragically killed in accidents at agriculture production facilities,” Howell said. “I truly believe that the safety awareness created by incorporating these modules will prevent injuries and save our students’ lives in the future.”

Dr. Howell’s students, many of whom grew up on farms in rural Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Oklahoma, were quick to embrace the program.

“I believe that the Safety Made Simple training has been very beneficial, and I believe that anyone who has the chance should take this course,” said LeAnn Landis, a senior majoring in animal sciences from Reading, Kansas. “I found the training and information regarding cattle management, treatment, and UTV safety especially valuable.”

Learn more about the Department of Agriculture at FHSU at