Three Farm Workers Killed In Two Weeks
In the last two weeks three farm workers have been killed by machinery in the Yakima Valley.
Last Saturday 23 year old Francisco Mendez was run over by a forklift and died at this Wapato orchard on Borquin road.
Two others, 44 year old Francisco Espinoza from Wapato and 57 year old James Womach from Grandview were killed in tractor accidents
The state department of labor and industries says this is too many deaths in too short of a time frame-and that the organization is going to stress safety issues with farmers.
"We're concerned because in 2010 there were 7 tractor related fatalities in the State of Washington and now we have had these three just in the matter of the last few weeks so it's a trend that we don't want to see continue," says Elaine Fisher.
We spoke with over a dozen farm owners who refused to comment on this issue.
Labor and Industries says we are in the heart of the agricultural season and with that comes more opportunities for accidents.
L & i believes many are preventable.
"There are a lot of tractors operating right now- if you're not trained and if you are not constantly aware and following the proper procedures than any accident could be deadly," says Fisher.
Farmer John Verbrugge puts his employees through a vigorous safety course before they go out in the field- and renews that training every month- but he says no matter how much you learn- you can't control everything.
"It's not acceptable to have an injury but I can't prevent injuries 100% it's impossible," says Verbrugge.