NATIONAL CONSUMERS LEAGUE PRESS STATEMENT
For immediate release: October 30, 2012
Contact: Reid Maki, (703) 801-3338, email@example.com
The Oct. 28th New York Times story “Silos Loom As Death Traps on Farms” stands as a stark reminder that U.S. and state governments must do more to protect workers, toiling in dangerous workplaces. “The Times piece by reporter James Broder highlights several teen worker deaths and violent injuries suffered by teens in agricultural grain facilities,” said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League (NCL) and a co-chair of the Child Labor Coalition, 28 organizations committed to protecting children from exploitative or dangerous work. “Unfortunately, last April, the Obama Administration, under intense pressure from the farm lobby, withdrew regulations that would have protected teens from the dangers associated with work in agriculture, including these very dangerous facilities. Under the proposed rules, teens would not have been allowed to work in them.”
Each year, the National Consumers League (NCL) publishes an extensive report, The Five Most Dangerous Jobs for Teens. “Agriculture is by far the most dangerous industry that large numbers of teens are allowed to work in,” said Reid Maki, NCL’s Director of Social Responsibility and Fair Labor Standards. “Nearly 100 kids are killed performing hazardous farm work each year. The reality is that agricultural work for teens is extremely dangerous and no job is more dangerous than working in a grain facility.”
In 2010, 51 adult and teen workers became engulfed in grain during accidents at grain facilities. Twenty-six workers died, including Wyatt Whitebread, 14, and Alex Pacas, 19, whose deaths were described in the Times article. In August 2011, Oklahoma teens Tyler Zander and Bryce Gannon, both 17, each lost a leg in a grain auger accident. This accident would have been prevented by the withdrawn safety rules. Since 2007, 14 teen boys have died in grain facility accidents.