VDACS News Releases
September 20, 2023
VDACS & DOLI Recognize National Farm Safety and Health Week
Contact: Michael Wallace
The third week of September is annually recognized as National Farm Safety and Health Week, as fall harvest time is one of the busiest and most dangerous seasons of the year for agriculture. The Virginia departments of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and Labor and Industry (DOLI) recognize September 17 – 23, 2023, as National Farm Safety and Health Week to help raise awareness and encourage the safety and well-being for all hardworking Virginians in the agriculture industry.
“Virginia farmers and those that work in the agriculture industry work hard to provide food for those in the Commonwealth and beyond,” said Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr. “This work can be dangerous, and it is our duty to provide education and support, often through regulation and certifications, to ensure a safe work environment. National Farm Safety and Health Week is another tool to help get the word out and provide support to those that support the agriculture industry here in the Commonwealth.”
“Virginia’s farmers are essential to the Commonwealth and it’s our duty to provide them with the assistance to reduce risk of injury while performing these crucial functions,” said Secretary of Labor Bryan Slater. “I am thankful that National Farm Safety and Health Week provides a forum to recognize and support these hardworking Virginians in the agriculture industry.”“Virginia’s farmers are essential to the Commonwealth and it’s our duty to provide them with the assistance to reduce risk of injury while performing these crucial functions,” said Secretary of Labor Bryan Slater. “I am thankful that National Farm Safety and Health Week provides a forum to recognize and support these hardworking Virginians in the agriculture industry.”
In addition to being two of the Commonwealth’s largest private industries, agriculture and forestry are also Virginia’s most hazardous occupations. Farmers and forestry workers are at high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries, noise-induced hearing loss, skin diseases, and high levels of stress associated with these occupations. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2021 indicates that the agricultural sector is still the most dangerous in America with 453 fatalities, to include seven fatalities amongst Virginia agriculture workers and 13 fatalities in the state’s agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting sectors.
“All Virginians deserve to work in a safe and healthy environment, and it’s important to provide farmers with the necessary resources and assistance to achieve this goal,” said DOLI Commissioner Gary G. Pan. “We are proud to support Farm Safety and Health Week to shine a light on these important issues.”
“As a sixth-generation farmer, I can attest to the physically challenging aspect of agriculture. But an often-overlooked component of a farmers’ overall health is the mental burden of farming. Weather, along with input and output prices, are just a few stressors that can affect agricultural producers,” said VDACS Commissioner Joseph Guthrie. “Farm Safety and Health Week is a great opportunity to promote farm safety and to strongly encourage the complete well-being for Virginia farmers and their families.”
Throughout National Farm Safety and Health Week, VDACS will post social media messages to promote agricultural safety and encourage the use of mental health resources using the hashtag #NoOneCanTakeYourPlace. In addition, the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety and the AgriSafe Network will present 15 free webinars during the week to promote agricultural safety and mental health awareness.
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