This is farm safety and health week, nationally and in NC. What does it mean for NC farmers and consumers?
“There is a Governor’s proclamation to raise the awareness of farm safety. We do provide the fuel and fiber and food for millions of people in the US and like many careers, farming has its share of risks.
Its not only machinery, but we also work with chemicals and animals and trying to handle these large animals, accidents can happen. But most of the serious farm accidents are from tractors. We have had eight deaths from tractors in the last six months in NC.
We work with the NC Agrimedicine Institute and others to promote on farm health and safety. We do enforcement for the worker protection standard for agricultural pesticides. Our standards in NC go beyond those of the federal government.
This regulation is designed to protect people that use certain types of pesticides or come in contact with crops or plants that are treated with these pesticides. The rule requires employers to take steps to protect employees, themselves and their families. Sometimes the farmers take it on themselves to apply the pesticides but they need to make sure that everyone is protected, but also to decontaminate if there is over exposure.
This year we trained more than 400 farmers in safe use of soil chemicals so we are constantly out there educating and doing outreach.
We have the pesticide environmental trust fund that supports online training for health care providers and the NC farm worker health program and other efforts to promote safety, its supported by fees that are paid in by companies that register pesticides in NC.”