Linguistic experts believe that in 10,000 years all words spoken today will completely dissipate due to the rapid evolution of languages. And there is no doubt that radioactive nuclear waste dumped underground will outlive words like ‘caution’, ‘warning’, and ‘hazardous’. Many radioactive dumping sites will pose as a threat even long after the word ‘danger’ is omitted from the dictionary. This presents a serious challenge for health and safety professionals involved in tucking harmful materials under the earth. How do we communicate with future generations and alert them about the dangers lurking underground? It is quite certain that someone sometime in the future will be digging one of the radioactive sites. It could be an archeologist looking for signs of an ancient civilization or a historian hoping to write a dissertation on the fall of a selfie-crazed empire or it could be someone hunting for relics like cell phones and fidget spinners. Concern for health and safety should transcend generations and those depositing harmful waste should have contingencies in place to prevent harm to the environment and human health. With that thought in mind let us retreat from the far-away surreal future and pay a visit to any one of the local friendly farms in Punjab. These seemingly peaceful places harbor dangers too and they often lack warning signs. Ahad Anwar, who works as Principal Consultant at Corporate OHS Ltd., believes that the agriculture sector is susceptible to chronic and acute risks. His company is putting together a comprehensive framework for occupational health and safety at the national level. “Farmers are more likely to suffer from a number of diseases of the respiratory and circulatory system”, said Ahad Anwar. “Farmer’s lung is one example of the many dilapidating illnesses that affect farmers in large numbers. It occurs as a result of inhaling hay dust and other particles from different agricultural products.” The disease may cause permanent lung damage and is not treatable which means that the only solution is prevention. Farmers also face heat related illnesses, vehicle hazards, and sometimes extremely unsanitary conditions. It is not just the physical ailments or injuries that affect farmworkers. The damage these people take during their work hangs on to them like a curse. The agriculture sector employs 42 percent of the labour force and most of the workers are tied to the informal sector where regulation and legislation are almost non-existent. Many people work without an employment contract and are completely unaware of their rights. These people are also likely to be the poorest of the poor and have very limited access to medical care. As a result, occupational diseases or injuries takes them down on never-ending spiral. Ahad Anwar, who works as Principal Consultant at Corporate OHS Ltd., believes that the agriculture sector is susceptible to chronic and acute risks. His company is putting together a comprehensive framework for occupational health and safety at the national level. “Farmers are more likely to suffer from a number of diseases of the respiratory and circulatory system”, said Ahad Anwar Rao Nasir Mehmood, Director of Saeed Ahmed Awan Center for Improvement of Working Conditions & Environment (SAACIWCE), believes that there is another menace that we should prepare to tackle at the earliest. “Fodder cutting machine is one of the most common items owned by farmers”, said Rao. “We have been pushing manufacturers to redesign these machines as a lot of workers have suffered grave injuries while cutting fodder. Furthermore, there have been many reported cases of amputations to the limbs. This puts farmers in a permanent state of poverty.” Unfortunately, there is very little empirical data surrounding occupational risk. According to an International Labour Organisation, 36,858 work-related diseases were reported in the year 2003, and 42,806 cases of mortality were recorded. However, beyond these figures there is not much data available to ascertain major areas of intervention. “All work-related injuries and diseases should be reported,” contends Rao. This is the first step in realizing a truly safe environment for all workers. There is certainly good news on the horizon. Pakistan is in the process of enacting fresh OSH (Occupational Safety and Health) bill. The Sindh government has already adopted the bill and other provinces will soon follow. This will replace nearly the century old Factories Act, 1934. The new legislation will impose heavier fines on companies violating safety standards. It will also cover previously neglected sectors like agriculture. While those depositing radioactive waste are pondering over questions on how to effectively warn future generations, many farms and other work spaces in Pakistan lack warning signs altogether. This is perhaps the least we can all do. The writer has an MBA from LUMS and has been working as a professional writer for 7 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, October 18th 2018.