Farmers Work to Improve Safety

Despite the failure of the US Department of Labor to increase safety regulations and limit the ability of underage children to work certain agricultural jobs, US farmers have made a personal commitment to improve workplace safety.
Despite major technological breakthroughs, farming remains a remarkably dangerous profession. In 2011, nearly 560 workers were killed and thousands more were injured. These casualties resulted in a net financial loss of about $4 billion in both direct and indirect costs.
These fatality rates are more than 2 times higher than mining, transportation, and construction jobs.
The Labor Department’s abortive efforts to restrict child labor were connected to these high fatality rates. In a sector whose child labor regulations have not been updated in about 30 years, some federal officials believed it was well past time to intervene.
Despite the failure, many farmers have committed themselves to personally and privately improving safety measures. These measures have led to the installation of improved safety equipment and increased efforts to boost awareness. Despite an overall high fatality rate, individual safety efforts appear to be paying off, with injury rates decreasing nearly 60 percent in the last ten years.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer