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Farm workers face injuries and illnesses daily

It is doubtful that many people think about the source of their food when they sit down to eat a meal. Those who do ponder it are likely focused on where the food came from and whether it is organic or genetically modified. There is another factor that could influence food choices for residents of North Carolina, however. That factor is the safety procedures in place to protect workers producing the food we eat.

While perhaps not the first occupation that comes to mind when one thinks about dangerous jobs, farming is actually quite dangerous for a variety of reasons. According to a recent report issued by the Center for Progressive Reform, each day, hundreds of workers become ill or are hurt while working in the farming industry. Worse, an average of one farm workers loses his or her life each day.

Risks individuals working in agriculture regularly face include:

  • Repetitive stress injuries
  • Electrocution
  • Exposure to pesticides
  • Entrapment in grain silos
  • Slip and falls
  • Overturned equipment
  • Strain due to the heat

In addition, those involved in handling the food once it is harvested face injuries in truck accidents and in warehouses.

Most would agree that workplace safety is important whatever the occupation and that workplace injuries should be reduced. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has created safety standards for many workplaces and conducts investigations to make sure they are being followed, due to the number of injuries, illnesses and deaths it appears clear that there is plenty of room for improvement.

Source: People's World, "Report: Food on American tables costs a life a day," Mark Gruenberg, April 25, 2013

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