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Pennsylvania teenager's death could have been prevented if Obama administration didn't cave to industry pressure

A 17-year-old boy in Lebanon County, Pa. was killed on Wednesday while helping a neighbor harvest corn. 

Police said the teenager was working on a piece of farm equipment when his leg became entangled in a corn bail that was being automatically fed through the machine. The boy was pulled into the machine and killed.

Even more tragic than the incident itself is the fact that it could have been prevented.

The Obama administration last year withdrew a proposed rule that would have protected workers as young as 12 from performing some of the most dangerous tasks in the agriculture sector. Alas, the administration caved to industry pressure and took the rule off the table – leaving workers like this Lebanon teenager vulnerable to hazards on the job.

Of the 4,609 workers who were killed on the job in 2011, 370 were under the age of 25: 10 were 16 years old or younger; 14 were either 16 or 17 years old; 58 were 18 or 19 years old; and 288 were between 20 and 24 years old. 

The administration should reconsider the rule and value the lives of America’s youth over industry’s wish lists.

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