By Denny Banister, Missouri Farm Bureau Federation

Television fans of Deadliest Catch would probably say fishermen hold the most dangerous job, and they would be right. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fishing is the most dangerous occupation with more than 71 deaths per 100,000 workers.

The second most dangerous occupation belongs to pilots and navigators, which is a little worrisome to those of us who are frequent flyers. In third place come loggers. Timber cutters suffer fatalities nearly 30 times higher than those employed in a typical workplace, most killed by falling trees.

The fourth most dangerous job is structural metal workers, which is understandable since they walk the girders. In fifth place are waste management workers whose biggest threat comes on roads where they are exposed to fast moving vehicles while doing their jobs.

Power line workers are in seventh place, followed closely by roofers in eighth. In ninth place are construction workers and tenth place belongs to truck drivers. What, you say I skipped one? Let's see, structural metal workers, waste management workers-oh, yeah, the sixth most dangerous job...farming.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, farming is more dangerous than police work and firefighting. Those who serve with the police force and fire departments know their jobs are dangerous and are highly trained in protecting each other. Farmers frequently work alone.

Farming may not seem dangerous, but consider-Missouri is quite hilly, and tractor roll-overs are more commonplace. Farmers also operate large machinery when planting and harvesting and are always under pressure to get the crop in or out of the ground before the weather changes.

Working long hours for many consecutive days with heavy machinery is all too often a recipe for disaster. Another risk is farmers move machinery from one field to another via county roads where drivers frequently speed. Many drivers are not looking for a slow moving combine over the next hill.

Sept. 20-26 is National Farm Safety and Health Week. During this year's harvest, farmers are urged to take breaks, get rest and shut machinery off before attempting to work on a clog. If you are not a farmer, remember-your fast driving on county roads is a big hazard, for farmers and for you.

Denny Banister, of Jefferson City, Mo., is the assistant director of public affairs for the Missouri Farm Bureau, the state's largest farm organization.