When political rhetoric trumps child safety
The Obama administration made a terrible mistake last week by dropping proposed rules designed to protect young children under age 16 hired as farmhands. Caving to public pressure from Big Agriculture and Republican lawmakers puts kids’ lives on the line.
Even for adults, farming remains one of the nation’s most dangerous occupations. A tragedy near Center City, Minn., over the weekend serves as a sobering reminder. Cole Gustafson, 56, an agricultural economist at North Dakota State University, died Saturday after a tractor accident on his parents’ farm. Tractor accidents are the leading cause of farm fatalities.
The Labor Department was on the right track last year when it proposed 15 new rules to keep young hired farm laborers safe. Many of the suggested safety measures were practical, such as seat belts for tractors and rollover bars on farm vehicles in which children often are hurt.