Farm workers bear an increasingly high risk from heat exposure

As global temperatures inch up year after year, working outdoors in the summer months has become an increasingly dangerous proposition. And nowhere is this risk felt more acutely than the ag sector, where long hours, lack of health care, and limited worker protections put many farm workers directly in harm’s way. A new report titled “Essentially Unprotected,” from the Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems, looks at farm work in 13 different states, concluding that there is very little incentive for farm owners to create safer conditions for their employees. In fact, only three states—Washington, Minnesota, and California—have any regulations to safeguard farm workers from escalating temperatures; there is no enforceable federal standard at all. And without significant action, these workers could continue to die of heat-related causes at a rate 20 times higher than all other professions. Civil Eats has more.

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