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See the latest reader comments and hear John explain some of agriculture’s complex topics.
OSHA on the Farm?
Apr 04, 2011
***Editor's Note: We received a number of comments regarding's John's commentary on farm deaths and the role OSHA could/should play. To red the report on grain bin deaths that John references below. CLICK HERE. Below is a transcript of John's commentary, followed by the viewer feedback...
John's World Commentary:
THE NEWS OF A SPIKE IN GRAIN BIN ENTRAPMENT DEATHS ON FARMS AND GRAIN FACILITIES VERIFIES WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A PREVENTABLE TRAGEDY. THE 2009 CORN CROP WENT INTO THE BINS IN SORRY CONDITION, AND THUS THE STAGE WAS SET FOR GRAIN HANDLING HEADACHES WHEN OUT-OF-CONDITION GRAIN WAS STUBBORNLY REFUSING TO FLOW EASILY THROUGH OUR BINS AND CONVEYORS. 51 INCIDENTS WITH 38 FATALITIES MADE 2010 THE DEADLIEST YEAR ON RECORD FOR SUCH ACCIDENTS.
IT IS GROWING INCREASINGLY OBVIOUS THAT AGRICULTURE'S CASUAL ACCEPTANCE OF INJURIES AND FATALITIES ON FARMS STANDS OUT AGAINST A BACKDROP OF EVER-SAFER WORKING ENVIRONMENTS FOR ALL OTHER INDUSTRIES. IN ADDITION, AGRICULTURE REMAINS THE ONLY INDUSTRY WHERE CHILDREN ROUTINELY DIE IN THE WORKPLACE. FIVE OF THE BIN FATALITIES LAST YEAR WERE CHILDREN UNDER 16.
WHILE I DO NOT WISH TO ADD TO THE SORROW OF THE MANY LIVES TOUCHED BY THESE TRAGEDIES, IT IS HARD NOT TO CONCLUDE WE DON'T SEEM TO BE LEARNING FROM THEM AT ALL. ON-FARM ACCIDENTS ARE APPARENTLY VIEWED AS A SAD COST OF BUSINESS, I GUESS. THE FARM COMMUNITY IS CURRENTLY RAILING ABOUT EXCESSIVE REGULATION, AND MUCH OF THE COMPLAINING IS WARRANTED. BUT IT IS OBVIOUS WE ARE CLEARLY UNDER-REGULATED WHEN IT COMES TO SAFETY. WE HAVE DEMONSTRATED A CALLOUS DISREGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE, AND LIKE OTHER INDUSTRIES, I DOUBT WE WILL CHANGE UNTIL INSPECTIONS, FINES, AND LAWSUITS FORCE US TO. OUR FARM EXEMPTION FROM OSHA IS UNJUSTIFIABLE AND SHOULD BE MODIFIED.
#1: Just turned in to the show this morning...couldn't believe my ears. Your host wants farms more regulated when it comes to safety! Haven't you learned yet that more government, and regulation is not the answer, and that once they get involved, they never stop until their sleeping in your house! We don't need your host to be our Nanny, or be the self appointed Safety Evangelist to preach at us about my lack of value of human life. Way over the mark. Won't be watching your show anymore. Iva Maier
#2: I am not a farmer, but enjoy your show. I agree that safety should probably be regulated, but as in all business, the "cheaters" always cause competitive issues. All the regulations in the world won't stop the "cheaters" from lowering costs by using underage/under trained labor. Family Farmers who use cheap child labor (including sons/daughters, who, by the way are learning "the trade" and disciplines of working) will, as usual, pay the biggest price trying to adhere to regulations. Big Corporations already are somewhat regulated by their own safety departments. So, I think what you advocate is probably going to hurt the "little guy" the most. Just an opinion. Bob in Indio, CA.
#3: No thanks. I do not want any more regulations. This sounds more like the "nanny state" taking care of us. We can take care of ourselves and as parents take care of and watch our children. Just because someone from OSHA slapped a sticker on my bin, doesn't mean I'm not going to crawl into it with crusted corn. I know this bunch in now would love nothing more than getting way more involved in our private property. Again, no thanks John. As the sign said, "You can't fix stupid!" To be honest, I was more than a little shocked by your comments. I guess for a while yet, we can still have our opinions. Good job with the show otherwise. Ghil R. Reese - Jerseyville, IL
#4: John, Puh-leeeeze! (regarding your suggestion that we need OSHA on our farms) Tell me when has more government in our lives made things better???? Bumbling bureaucrats on my farm telling me what my common sense already knows??? I think not!!! Linda Ulrich - Laredo, MO