Our friends at FullTilt Marketing sent this reminder last week from the Equitable Food Initiative regarding 2022’s National Farm Safety and Health Week, which runs Sept. 18-24.
Equitable Food Initiative “provides training and a place for workers to have a voice in the farming operation. Worker-manager collaborative teams play a vital role in creating safer and healthier workplaces,” and to learn more go to equitablefood.org.
The message is always timely, and EFI’s release stressed that the Initiative “believes every day is a good day to be safe, but for National Farm Safety and Health Week National Farm Safety and Health Week it’s the perfect time to share what you do to keep workers safe, to raise awareness about the many dangers and risks in farm work and to help reduce workplace injuries and illnesses.”
It advised, “Let’s take the opportunity to shine a light on safety and how every worker can protect themselves and their coworkers and keep everyone safe and healthy.”
According to statistics from The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), every day approximately 100 farmworkers suffer a lost time injury, with the total industry cost exceeding $8 billion.
The most common dangers to agricultural workers include:
- Respiratory Illness and Disease (including Farmer’s Lung and ODTS mainly from inhaling dirt and dust)
- Skin Disorders (primarily due to sun, irritants, and allergies)
- Hearing Loss (from working around loud equipment and machinery for extended periods of time)
- Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke (from working in the sun with limited to no shade and inadequate water consumption)
- Sanitary Conditions and Clean Water (which should be provided by employers at all work sites)
- Exposure to Pesticides and Toxins (steps can be taken to avoid and reduce exposure)
- Vehicle Operations (including standard vehicles, tractors, forklifts, harvesters, plows, sprayers, ATVs, and more)
- Heavy Machinery Operation (commonly used to prepare, clean, separate, and package the commodity)