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U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) urges workers and employers to focus on farm vehicle safety to prevent injuries and deaths

As part of its observation of National Farm Safety and Health Week (September 19-23), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) wrote about an alarming increase in deaths and injuries related to transportation in agriculture. DOL highlighted recent incidents in California, Oregon, and Washington that caused the deaths of eight agricultural workers and more than 30 injuries. Unfortunately transportation is one of the most dangerous aspects of agricultural work: of the 589 agricultural workers who were killed at work in 2020, nearly half died in transportation accidents.

The Wage and Hour Division’s investigations from 2017 to 2021 showed that transportation-related violations were common in agriculture, including:

  • Failing to provide safe vehicles,

  • Transporting workers without authorization,

  • Using unregistered farm labor contractors to provide services,

  • Not obtaining required insurance coverage, and

  • Failing to ensure drivers have a valid license.

San Francisco Wage and Hour Regional Administrator Ruben Rosalez said, “Industry employers, including labor contractors, must follow required safety measures such [as] regular vehicle safety inspections and ensuring drivers are properly licensed. At the same time, workers should be wearing seat belts. These common-sense approaches can be the difference between life and death.”

DOL also mentioned that federal laws require farm labor contractors to register with the Department and to be authorized to provide housing or transportation to workers. 

DOL shared the following resources, where you can read more about safety for agricultural workers’ transportation:


-       Agriculture Compliance Assistance Toolkit regarding protections for workers and employers' obligations

To read the full news release by the Wage and Hour Division, click here.


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