Fall harvest time is one of the busiest and most dangerous seasons for farming. Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in Southern California and has the highest fatality rates in the U.S. The 574 fatalities in 2018 were equivalent to 23.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. Farms are one of the few workplaces where children are at risk of injuries or death. Increasing awareness of the health and safety issues can protect agriculture workers.
Farm safety and health facts
Many types of work-related injuries in agriculture happen during crashes on rural roads involving farm equipment. Slowing down and being patient may help avoid crashes. Opioid use disorders happen to workers in every field, including agriculture. There are signs when people are abusing opioids and ways to help them. Farms injure about 33 children a day, and people should consider creating a safer environment for children. Chemicals and pesticides are common on farms for a variety of reasons. Chemicals should have proper labels, and workers should use them according to the directions. There are tools available to women working on farms to reduce their stress levels.
Resources for farmer safety and health
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health works to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses among agriculture workers. There are extensive research programs in agriculture, forestry and fishing industries to reduce illness and injury risks. There are ten regional Centers for Agricultural Safety and Health and a National Children’s Center. The facilities test pesticide exposure, stress, hearing loss, musculoskeletal disorders and pulmonary disease.
NIOSH and its centers recognize National Farm Safety and Health Week each year. They take an in-depth look at the dangers of working on a farm and the importance of working together. The NIOSH facilities work to prevent illnesses and injuries of agriculture workers. The center’s toolkit is available to aid farmworkers with their daily work.