Study Outlines Increase in Unsafe Working Conditions for Agricultural Workers

Study Outlines Increase in Unsafe Working Conditions for Agricultural Workers

High heat indexes prove to be increasingly dangerous for farmers while working outside.

The University of Washington and Stanford University released a study that analyzes significant temperature increases in the United States in concentrated areas where crops are grown, according to Science News.

The study details strategies that the over 2 million agricultural workers in America can use to protect their health while working outside in heat. The proposed practices include working less vigorously, taking longer breaks, wearing clothing that is thinner and more breathable and taking breaks in a cool environment. The study determines that the most effective way to lessen heat stress for farmers and agricultural workers would be development of light clothing that is still protective.

“The people who are the most vulnerable are asked to take the highest risk so that we, as consumers, can eat a healthy, nutritious diet,” said Michell Tigchelaar, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford. 

Those that work in agriculture are vulnerable to conditions that are related to heat stress. There are an estimated 21 days each year that agricultural employees experience in which the heat index exceeds worker safety standards. According to the study, these extreme heat conditions will increase to 39 unsafe days by 2050.

Information on agricultural safety can be found at nifa.usda.gov.

About the Author

Nikki Johnson-Bolden is an Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.

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