The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is supporting the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety’s National Farm Safety & Health Week, Sept. 15-21, by emphasizing the importance of worker safety in the agricultural industry. The theme for this year’s National Farm Safety & Health Week is “Working Together for Safety in Agriculture.”
“By working together to protect agricultural workers from job hazards and assuring that workers have the right to safety training, we can all make a positive impact on the lives of agricultural workers,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “OSHA has worked diligently with agri-businesses, farm agencies and communities in recent years to increase awareness of the hazards of confined spaces, farm equipment, grain handling and other hazards in the this industry in an effort to promote safety and health on America’s farms.”
Farm Safety and Health Week has been observed annually since 1944 during September as farmers prepare for harvest. The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety has posted informational safety and health materials on its website at www.necasag.org.
Farm workers are at high risk for: fatal and nonfatal injuries, work-related lung diseases, heat exposure, noise-induced hearing loss, skin diseases and certain cancers associated with chemical use and prolonged sun exposure. OSHA has additional information available on its website regarding specific agricultural hazards located at https://www.osha.gov/dsg/topics/agriculturaloperations/index.html.
Additionally, record numbers of deaths and injuries in 2010 led OSHA to develop a Local Emphasis Program for Grain Handling Facilities, focusing on the grain and feed industry’s six major hazards including: engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, “struck by,” combustible dust explosions and electrocution hazards. More information is available at www.grainsafety.org and www.osha.gov/SLTC/grainhandling/index.html.
Information is also available on the employment of youths in agriculture at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/youth/agriculture/index.html.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions exist for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.