The 28 members of the Child Labor Coalition (CLC) and the millions of Americans they represent warn that the Department of Labor’s recent withdrawal of occupational child safety rules for agriculture will needlessly endanger children who work for wages in agriculture.
“Agriculture is by far the most dangerous industry that large numbers of teens are allowed to work in,” said Sally Greenberg, Co-Chair of the Child Labor Coalition and the Executive Director of the National Consumers League. “Nearly 100 kids are killed on farms each year. In 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 12 of the 16 children under age 16 who suffered fatal occupational injuries worked in crop production. For agricultural workers age 15 to 17, the risk of fatal injury is four times the risk for young workers in other workplaces. The Department of Labor’s sensible recommendations–based on years of research indicating the jobs in which teen injuries and deaths occur–sought to protect these hired farmworkers. Unfortunately, the proposed rules fell victim to misinformation and exaggeration from the farm lobby.”
“The U.S. Labor Department has caved in to Big Agriculture and its allies in Congress to abandon the most vulnerable working children in America,” said Zama Coursen-Neff,Deputy Children’s Rights Director at CLC member Human Rights Watch. “Instead of protecting child farmworkers, the Labor Department will look the other way when children get crushed, suffocated, and poisoned on the job.”