Department of Labor Has Farms In Their Crosshairs

Posted by on Dec 02, 2011 at 8:47 am

The Department of Labor has passed some new rules which of course are designed to “protect” the children, but like everything else this administration does is just going to further exaceberate labor issues facing this country and on top of EPA efforts will further make life down on the farm difficult. The problem may be however that these feel good rules are being instituted based on faulty data.

Many other young kids won’t be allowed to do those kinds of chores if the U.S. Labor Department approves new rules on children working in agriculture. While the Mullers would likely be exempt because it’s a family business, the proposed rules would prohibit most children under age 16 from driving tractors, using power equipment, working with livestock in certain circumstances and doing work at heights over 6 feet.

Federal officials say the rules are needed because farming is one of the nation’s most dangerous occupations, but many farmers say children learn important life lessons and might develop an interest in agriculture by working on farms or ranches.

The problem is working on a farm isn’t the most dangerous occupation for children. According to the CDC these are the most dangerous jobs.

The Centers for Disease Control examined occupational fatalities for workers under 24 and found that the greatest number of deaths occurred in the following sectors.
Services (32%)
Construction (28%)
Wholesale and Retail Trade (10%)
Agriculture (10%)

Yup according to the CDC working at Wal Mart is just as dangerous as working on a farm.

So how did the Department of Labor arrive at their conclusion and what did they use for data? According to the article they used figures supplied from the National Safety Council. I searched the NSC web site but couldn’t find the study cited although I did find several referencing the rate of injuries and deaths in retail as well as several on driving hazards.

So what kind of numbers are we talking about? Stand by and be prepared to be overwhelmed by the slaughter.

In 2009, 27 workers under 18 died in the workplace–nearly half of those workers (13) were under 16 years old. In the 18 to 19 age group, another 57 workers died.

Any loss of life is to be noted but by changing the nature of the argument to talk percentages rather then raw numbers the Department of Labor manages to paint what would appear to be pretty bleak picture when the truth is according the most recent data I could find it works out to less then 2 people per state.

BTW the most common cause of death for teenagers is driving and deaths among children driving to and from work are also counted in the report.

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