CareerSafe Says #Yes2AgSafety with National Young Worker Ag Safety Day
October 20, 2016 - The first annual National Young Worker Ag Safety Day (NYWASD) celebrated the achievements of agriculture students and educators while raising awareness of ag-specific injuries in the workplace. Thousands of career and technical education students and educators participated in the NYWASD (#Yes2AgSafety) celebration at the 89th National FFA Convention and Expo this year.
CareerSafe’s founder, Dr. Larry Teverbaugh, stated, “On National Young Worker Ag Safety Day, over 4,000 ag teachers and students pledged to embrace safety and health awareness and practices in their schools, workplace, homes and communities. It is our mission to help lower the injuries and fatalities of young people working in agriculture. We are proud to advocate for establishing agriculture safety and health practices early in a young person’s life.”
Throughout NYWASD, the CareerSafe team, along with their partnered organizations from the Safety in Agriculture for Youth (SAY) project, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Food and Agriculture, created hundreds of new relationships and established fresh opportunities in increasing awareness for ag safety for young workers prior to their first jobs. “We’re working together across organizations, universities, and communities to educate the youth that will be leaders of our future and move the conversation in a direction that can protect these young people early,” said SAY project leader Dennis Murphy, Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Safety and Health at Penn State. Students, teachers, and industry leaders were encouraged to sign the safety banner and pledge to make safety a priority. This year’s banner was completely full with signatures signifying a commitment to safety. CareerSafe distributed commemorative t-shirts and other giveaways for students and educators participating in the event.
Health and safety of youth active in agriculture are paramount to the well-being of families, the vitality of our rural communities, and the prosperity of the U.S. agricultural enterprise,” said Aida Balsano, National Program Leader, Division of Family & Consumer Sciences, National Institute of Food and Agriculture. “By supporting agricultural safety for youth, we contribute to a culture of health for all.”
The impact of NYWASD will continue to be significant as young workers enter the workforce. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), each year more than 2 million youth under the age of 20 are exposed to farm-related safety hazards. By developing students’ safety and health knowledge of real occupational settings, we can stop unsafe practices. "We want all young workers to have a long, safe and healthy working career," said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. "It's the employer's responsibility to provide a safe workplace, and educating young workers about their rights and how to identify hazardous situations can give them the confidence they need to speak up and ask for the training and protections they need to be safe."
CareerSafe encourages both educators and students to continue to help promote safety awareness year-round through several scholarship opportunities. Students are challenged to create both safety video public service announcements (PSAs) and written essays expressing the importance of safety training. Follow CareerSafe news, social media, and events to remain up to date on opportunities to make a difference in workplace safety education.
Through collaborative efforts, what we do every day can save lives and lower injury rates for young workers. Remember, no job is worth a young worker’s life.