Changes proposed to improve safety for kid farm workers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Changes proposed to improve safety for kid farm workers

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

It's hard to believe on a hot summer day that fall harvest season is just around the corner.  On many farms, kids will be helping with harvest work.  Federal regulators are now looking at stricter rules to keep kids safe on the farm.

Driving across any Iowa road this time of year, green acres of corn and soybeans sweep the landscape for miles.  Soon, those fields will turn golden and be filled with combines that will reap this year's harvest.  From running the big harvesting machines, to working around grain bins, getting that job done certainly comes with its dangers, especially for kids.

"A lot of kids are helping with harvest, hauling in corn.  They don't realize exactly how much grain weights, the dangers it does pose to gets when they get around augers and all that heavy equipment," said Diane Wolfe, Black Hawk Co. Extension youth coordinator.

In fact, more than 16,000 kids are hurt on farms annually, and sadly 113 youth under age 20 die as a result of those injuries each year.  That's why Black Hawk County Extension offers a farm safety day each spring to educate kids on preventing farm accidents.

"The dangers are there.  They need to be careful.  And if they're careful, they will have a successful harvest and they won't be harmed," Wolfe said.

But the U.S. Labor Department thinks more should be done.  So it's proposing new rules aimed at improving safety for kids that work on farms.  The new rules would ban kids under 18 from working in or around grain elevators, feed lots, and other areas deemed unsafe.  It would also stop kids under 16 from operating most power driven equipment.  The changes would not cover kids working on farms run by their parents.

If safety classes, combined with stricter regulations, are able to help prevent accidents and save lives, the efforts may be worthwhile

Starting September 2, you can submit your thoughts on the US Labor Department's proposal to increase safety regulations for kids that work on farms.  Those comments can be submitted online at www.regulations.gov.  You can also mail them to the following address:

Wage and Human Resources Division
US Department of Labor
Room S3502
200 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20210

In your comments, reference: RIN-1235-AA06

 

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