Clemson Agricultural Safety

National Farm Safety and Health Week 2023 – Priority Populations in Agriculture

Priority Populations in Agriculture

The agricultural industry is comprised of a wide variety of people who all have different backgrounds. Often, when people think of agriculture, they think of the stereotypical answer of an older white man wearing over-alls holding a pitchfork. While some agricultural producers may look like this, many of them do not. Today we will shine light on the many diverse groups that call themselves agricultural producers.

In the past, farm equipment, PPE, and other agricultural-related devices were solely designed for the use of men. This has resulted in a greater risk for females who work in the agricultural industry because women often are smaller in size and weaker. Thus making being involved in agricultural operations more hazardous for them. Another common concern for women in agriculture is the potential for infertility and other reproductive risks that can come from blood pathogens from animals and exposure to various chemicals.

Migrant and Immigrant Farm Workers
It is estimated that 75% of all farm workers come from countries other than the US. Because of this, there are often language barriers between farm workers and their supervisors. This can result in reduced safety training for the farm workers, placing them in hazardous working environments.

Aging Farmers
In South Carolina, most primary farmers are above the age of 50. Hearing loss, loss of mobility, and slower response times are common disabilities that are seen in older farmers. By understanding risks and limitations, tasks can be modified for older producers to ensure that they are not put at risk of being injured. Assistance is also available for producers that have disabilities that are often associated with age. Visit the SC AgrAbility website for more information.

Oftentimes, youth are called to work on farms outside of school hours. While this can be a great help, many tasks are dangerous and not designed for youth to do. Always ensure that youth are properly trained before allowing them to perform a task and that they have the proper supervision. Always ensure that youth understand that the farm is not a playground and that incidents can happen in a matter of seconds.

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