U.S.DOL: Child safety rules for hazardous work on farms will save lives -- We need them now!
  • Petitioned Hilda Solis

This petition was delivered to:

Secretary of Labor, U.S. Dept. of Labor
Hilda Solis

U.S.DOL: Child safety rules for hazardous work on farms will save lives -- We need them now!

    1. Petition by

      Child Labor Coalition

Farm Lobby Attempts to Block Safety Rules for Children Working in Agriculture


Agriculture continues to be the most dangerous industry for children to work in. Three-quarters of the children who died while working for wages last year were killed while working on farms. Even after seeing horrible injuries and deaths time and again, the farm lobby is insistent children as young as 12 should continue to be allowed to work in hazardous conditions.


The Department of Labor recently proposed safety updates to the rules—the first change in 41 years. The update makes common sense changes to protect farmworker children from known hazards. Children would still be allowed to perform any type of task on their parents’ farm at any age, but the farm lobby is working to have the safety rules thrown out.


The updates to the occupational child safety rules for agriculture include provisions that would:


• Protect children working in agriculture by prohibiting those aged 15 and under from driving tractors—the leading cause of death on farms—unless they take a comprehensive farm safety course


• Shield children 15 and under from working with animals in known dangerous situations, such as large animals being branded, castrated, or herded in a confined space—unless they are in a comprehensive farm safety course. Work with animals is the second leading cause of death on farms.


• Prohibit minors from working in grain storage facilities—which accounted for 26 worker deaths in 2010. The deaths were typically from suffocation in the grain, although facilities can also explode. Two 17-year-old Oklahoma teens lost legs last year when they became trapped in a grain augur.


• Restrict children 15 and under from harvesting and curing tobacco, which may expose them to nicotine levels equivalent to smoking 36 cigarettes, and can cause green tobacco sickness.


There are 15 safeguards in all—including prohibiting work involving blasting agents and anhydrous ammonia and other similar hazards. DOL recently announced they plan to even expand this parental exemption as a result of efforts from the Farm Lobby, but it would seem nothing short of eliminating the rules will appease them.

Please tell DOL to stand firm and implement the occupational child safety rules now to prevent the unnecessary injury and death of more children.

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    1. Reached 250 signatures

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    • Henry Hughes SCOTTSDALE, AZ
      • over 2 years ago

      Our children are out future....that includes ALL children! Let's give them a chance to be children, to live as a family, and to make life a little bit easier and safer. Children of migrant farm families especially have so many obstacles in life....they deserve protection and a chance at life offered by this great nation. If you see the documentary film, "The Harvest," you too will understand the need for child protection laws, and the moral need to safeguard our young. I know I didI

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    • janis wright SAN JOSE, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      I grew up on a small family farm. Our parents never would have allowed us to do any of the prohibited things. These regulations are not for parents instructing their kids in the family business, who guard their children's safety vigilantly. They are for corporations and individuals willing to hire and exploit children.

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    • Harry Payne RALEIGH, NC
      • over 2 years ago

      In third world nations we find the fact of kids exposed to this kind danger primitive offensive, and abusive. It is the most visible scar on the face of our employment laws.

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    • Kathleen Fluhr CORPUS CHRISTI, TX
      • over 2 years ago

      One of my children's birth family are migrant farm workers. His mother was 13 when she gave birth to him. He was born with congenital anomolies that are very likely due to her pesticide exposure. My son is perfect in my eyes, but his life is difficult.

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    • Mildre Lima MAURY, NC
      • over 2 years ago

      All children should have the same rights with or without papers children under the age of 15 or 16 shouldn't be working in the fields because its not easy and its not fair to have them think that thats all they are good for.

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