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Farm safety focus of new initiative

Anyone in Minnesota who either personally works on a farm or has a loved one who works on a farm knows that farming is a dangerous business. Safety is a big concern and is a growing concern, especially as the demands on farmers continue to grow. Farms big and small are pushed to increase production and decrease costs and sometimes safety may get caught in the middle, leaving innocent workers injured.

A state representative is looking to address this issue by establishing a new program dedicated to advancing farm and agriculture safety. A request for $100,000 has been made to the legislature in order to get the new effort off the ground. The program would be run by the Department of Agriculture. Its mission would be to develop and deploy initiatives focused on improving safety on farms in Minnesota.

It is true that there are already several safety regulations and guidelines in place at both the federal and state levels. Many of these regulations, however, fail to protect workers on smaller farms. Concerns about the economic impact of some rules on small farm owners have contributed to some of the exemptions. This has happened while the risk of injury or even death to farm employees has grown. Farm equipment is larger and more complicated than ever before. Many farms operate with fewer employees due to a reduced labor force.

The situation facing people who work on farms in Minnesota is one that may benefit from further oversight. It is equally important for farm employees to know their rights if they are ever injured on the job. Talking to an attorney may be a good way to get this information.

Source: Mankato Free Press, “Johnson proposes statewide farm safety program, Trey Mewes, March 12, 2016

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