agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries in the country suggests the need to closely examine health and safety issues in agriculture. In this regard, the committee calls on Congress, which annually has passed language that forbids OSHA enforcement on small farms, to commission a study of the potential effects of bringing agriculture generally, and small farms, in particular, into alignment with other businesses under OSHA and to examine the feasibility of such a change. Under OSHA regulations, there are difficulties in singling out a designated group of workers for specific protections. However, in light of the President's Executive Order asking all agencies to consider the effects of their operations and programs on children, the study could investigate the possibility of extending occupational health and safety protections in agriculture to those under the age of 18, rather than to all workers on small farms.
In addition, such a study should review the application of hazard communication standards developed under OSHA and the standards under the EPA's Worker Protection Rule to identify gaps in the coverage of agriculture.
Recommendation: To ensure the equal protection of children and adolescents from health and safety hazards in agriculture, Congress should undertake an examination of the effects and feasibility of extending all relevant Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations to agricultural workers, including subjecting small farms to the same level of OSHA enforcement as that applied to other small businesses.
Neither the Occupational Safety and Health Administration nor the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have considered, in their standard-setting processes, the special risks to the health and safety of young workers. Based on available research, the committee is particularly concerned about young workers' exposure to carcinogens, reproductive toxins, biohazards, and musculoskeletal hazards, which may cause serious and long-term harm that is not adequately prevented by the current standards. Even if young workers are not especially susceptible to these risks, their ages alone mean that the periods of time over which they may suffer adverse consequences are greater for them than for adults. Although the EPA is mandated by the Food Quality Protection Act to review pesticide standards to determine the safety of children from pesticide residues on food, the