Today’s Topic: N.C. Farm Safety and Health Week
Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”
Since 1944, the third week of September has been recognized as National Farm Safety and Health Week. Gov. Pat McCrory has also proclaimed the week N.C. Farm Safety and Health Week to raise awareness of the importance of farm safety in our state.
Agriculture provides food, fiber and fuel for millions of people across the United States. But like many careers, farming does have its share of risks. Farmers work with machinery, chemicals and animals. Accidents can happen. In fact, in the last six months in North Carolina, there have been eight deaths from tractor accidents. It’s important that farmers and others who work in agriculture understand the inherent risks and take precautions.
The NCDA&CS works with the N.C. Agromedicine Institute, the N.C. AgrAbility Partnership, Cooperative Extension and the state Labor Department to promote on-farm health and safety.
One of NCDA&CS’s important programs is enforcement of the Worker Protection Standard for agricultural pesticides. Our state’s rules for worker protection are stronger than the federal government’s.
This regulation is designed to protect people who use certain types of pesticides or come in contact with crops or other plants treated with these pesticides. The rule requires employers to take steps to protect employees, themselves and family members. They have to provide information about exposure to pesticides, ways to protect against exposure, and how to decontaminate if there is over-exposure.
The department does a lot of education and outreach to make sure farmers are keeping their workers and themselves safe. For example, this year alone the Structural Pest Control and Pesticides Division has trained more than 400 farmers in the safe use of soil fumigants.
The state also has a Pesticide Environmental Trust Fund that supports online training for health-care providers, the N.C. Farmworker Health Program and other efforts to promote safety. The trust fund is supported by fees paid by companies that register pesticide products in North Carolina.
Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda talk about Farm Safety and Health Week.
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