Common dangers to agricultural workers

Agricultural work is hard, and data shows it is the most dangerous sector to work in. In fact, according to statistics from The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) every day approximately 100 farmworkers suffer a lost time injury.
Going beyond obvious hazards, such as machine operations, agriculture challenges workers with many lesser known, sometimes invisible, dangers. For example, did you know that the first reports of respiratory illness due to agriculture work were noted as early as 1555?
Farm certification is an important step to ensure the safety and well-being of agriculture workers, but steps can be taken daily to create a safer workspace. At Equitable Food Initiative, we believe every day is a good day to focus on safety, but for National Farm Safety and Health Week, let’s work together to raise awareness about the dangers of agricultural work and help reduce workplace injuries and illnesses.
When looking at the data, the most common dangers to agricultural workers include:
• Respiratory Illness and Disease (including Farmer’s Lung and organic dust toxic syndrome 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 at all work sites)
• Exposure to Pesticides and Toxins (worker training, storage and notification to workers of application can 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)
National Farm Safety and Health Week is the perfect time for those of us working in the agricultural industry to share with consumers the steps taken to keep workers safe. It’s also a chance to highlight the men and women who do the hard work that benefits all Americans.

Lake Mills Graphic

204 N. Mill Street
Lake Mills, IA 50450

Office Number: (641) 592-4222
Fax Number: (641) 592-6397

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