The agricultural industry has one of the highest workplace fatality rates in the United States, and many workers may not even beware of the risks they face while working. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the agricultural industry has a fatality rate of 21.2 per 100,000 workers.
Reports show that 475 agricultural workers died on the job last year, and 48,300 workers were injured in 2011, which is the last year recorded injuries were available according to the agency. With so many workers in the agricultural industry in the U.S, why isn’t more being done to prevent fatal and serious workplace injuries?
Over two million people work in the agricultural industry in the country. With the industry having one of the highest fatality rates, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is trying to raise awareness to the dangers on the job and increase workplace safety.
This week is National Farm Safety and Health Week, and OSHA is supporting the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety’s initiative to raise awareness of workplace safety issues.
As part of the safety week, the center is educating workers about the common hazards in the agricultural industry, and making sure all workers are provided with proper safety training. OSHA is working with the group to raise awareness about the dangers of using farm equipment, working in confined spaces, grain handling and other hazards in the industry.
Farm workers face many hazards on the job, including the hazards listed above. These workers are at risk for suffering fatal and nonfatal injuries as well as occupational illnesses including lung diseases, hearing loss, skin diseases, heat exposure and are at risk for developing certain cancers due to chemical and sun exposure.
The agricultural industry needs to be aware of these hazards and take steps to prevent injuries and illnesses in the workplace. OSHA working with organizations to promote awareness and safety tips is a step in the right direction but hopefully more workplaces will taken an initiative to improve the safety on their sites and keep their workers from being injured.
Source: EHS Today, “OSHA Cultivating Safety Awareness With Agriculture Community,” Sandy Smith, Sept. 17, 2013