A new federal funding cut introduced by President Obama could lead to cuts in important safety programs for New York agriculture workers, as well as for workers in commercial fishing and forestry.

Dr. John May, director of the Cooperstown-based Northeast Center for the Agricultural and Occupational Health, said, "Agriculture, forestry, and fishing are the three most dangerous occupations in the country."

May expressed concern that the cuts would affect the rollover protective structure (ROPS) program and other safety training programs, opening the way for more New York worksite injuries for farmers. The ROPS program protects farmers from being crushed if a tractor rolls over, and officials say there has never been a recorded death from a rollover in a tractor equipped with a rollover protective structure.

For farming, fishing and forestry, the annual rate for New York fatal occupational injury ranged from 26.5 per 100,000 to 21.3 per 100,000 between 1992 and 2002, which was up to 5.4 times the fatal occupational injury rates recorded in the private sector.

Many New York state representatives, including representatives from Barneveld and Plattsburgh, have voiced their concern and are interested in retaining the funding for these programs.

The White Plains workers' compensation lawyers with Markhoff & Mittman, PC will be interested to follow how the funding cuts are handled and hope it will not impact New York workers' safety.