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Proclamation 6423—National Farm Safety Week, 1992

April 24, 1992

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

The United States is no longer a primarily agrarian society, but we Americans still rely on our farmers and ranchers as heavily as we did more than 200 years ago. By helping to feed and to clothe millions of workers and their families, members of the agricultural industry have enabled this country to achieve the world's highest standards of health and productivity. In today's expanding global economy, which is creating opportunities to market an ever-wider array of agricultural products and by-products, our farmers and ranchers have an increasingly important role to play in promoting our Nation's competitiveness and strength. Because we depend on these enterprising individuals for our daily sustenance and for so much more, it is fitting that we set aside a special week to promote their health and safety.

Thanks in large part to public awareness campaigns such as National Farm Safety Week, we have made notable progress in our efforts to protect the lives and health of America's agricultural workers. According to the National Safety Council, a private, nonprofit organization that is dedicated to promoting public safety, the number of work-related deaths among agricultural workers has dropped over the past 10 years from an average of 54 per 100,000 to 42 per 100,000. The Council reports that nonoccupational accidents in rural areas have also decreased.

Despite such encouraging trends, however, far too many farmers and ranchers continue to suffer from injuries and illnesses that could be prevented. Improper and prolonged exposure to chemicals and environmental elements is having a harmful effect on the health of many agricultural workers and thus on their livelihood as well. Serious accidents are often the cruel price of carelessness and haste. The costs in human terms alone -- which are far greater than the billions of dollars in lost productivity and medical expenses -- warrant a strengthened commitment to improved safety measures and to healthier life-styles.

The solutions are relatively simple and inexpensive, and they begin with the whole family. For example, farmers and ranchers can reduce their risk of developing dermatitis, lung disease, hearing loss, and other common occupational illnesses by wearing protective gloves, respirators, and ear plugs when the job calls for it. Empty pesticide containers should be disposed of safely, and leftover chemicals should be stored out of the reach of children. In addition to being given clear and consistent examples of prudence and caution -- be it at work, on the road, or at play -- youngsters should be taught the dangers of playing on or near farm machinery. Children should also be encouraged to recognize health hazards such as dust, noise, toxic fumes, and extreme exposure to the sun, and every member of every farm family should know what to do in the event of an emergency. Only when injury and illness prevention becomes a daily priority for all those who live and work on our Nation's farms and ranches can we reap a full harvest of better health and safety.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim the week of September 20 through September 26, 1992, as National Farm Safety Week. I urge all those who live and work on our Nation's farm, and ranches to make health and safety an integral part of their daily activities. I call on organizations that serve agricultural workers and their families to sponsor or to support rural health and safety programs, and I encourage all Americans to observe this week with appropriate activities as an expression of our gratitude for the many contributions that men and women in agriculture make to our individual and collective well-being.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fourth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixteenth.

Signature of George Bush


George Bush, Proclamation 6423—National Farm Safety Week, 1992 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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