We have for years represented members of farm families. We have employees who learned their work ethic on the farm. We have represented people injured on the farm and have figured the loss when outside injures have harmed a member of a farm family.
It was with this background that I have been following the recent numbers from the occupational safety and health division of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry concerning deaths and injuries on farms. As the Minneapolis Tribune reported:
Deaths are on the rise. More than 210 work-related deaths occurred on Minnesota farms from 2003 to 2013 — an increase of more than 30 percent when compared with a decade earlier. A Star Tribune review of those fatal cases shows that at least two-thirds involved practices that violate federal workplace rules.
The causes of the fatalities and injuries include:
- Not following the rules of safety,
- Farmers working alone
- Lack of training
The Tribune story goes deep into the numbers and has examples of very sad stories. It is clear that more needs to be done with education and safety reviews to get the numbers down. The State of Minnesota should increase the review of these deaths to get to the bottom of how to save future lives.
I hope that the talks will continue and that safety will move to the forefront of farming for all of our farmers.