Agriculture Workers Prepare for Havest — Accidents Expected to Increase

It’s fall harvest season and farmers are hard at it.

Unfortunately, many of the accidents on farms will occur during the fall harvest season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), agriculture is one of the most dangerous fields in which to work. Farmers and farmhands are at high risk for serious or fatal work accidents. It’s also one of the only industries in which the families are also at risk, because they oftentimes share work and live at the work site.
Our Asheville workers’ compensation attorneys understand that of the near 1,825,000 employees in the industry in 2010, there were close to 500 who were killed on the job.

That means that the fatality rate for this industry was more than 26 per 100,000 employees. It’s a field with a lot of young workers, too. It’s estimated close to 520,000 minors work on the farm. And exemptions to state and federal labor laws allow some of these children to perform hazardous tasks that would be forbidden most minors in the workforce. In addition to minors who live on farms, another 250,000 were hired to work on farms in the country in 2010. When you average it out, close to 115 youth under the age of 20 are killed every year from injuries in the agriculture field. Most of these fatal accidents occurred to kids between the ages of 16 and 19 years old.

Of the causes of injuries to these young workers, close to 25 percent involved machinery like tractors; about 20 percent involved motor vehicles, including ATV; and just over 15 percent were the result of drowning accidents.

In addition to these fatalities, there were more than 16,000 kids who were injured on the farm last year. Just under 3,500 injuries were the result of farm work.

It’s not just the kids who are facing these risks. Adults working in the agricultural sector face some of the highest risks of any workforce. From 1992 to 2009, there were close to 9,500 farmers and other farm workers who were killed in work-related accidents in the country. The number one cause of death for these employees was tractor overturns. These accidents account for 90 fatalities each year.

The best way to prevent an overturn accident is to use a Roll-Over Protective Structure (ROPS). Back in 2006, less than 60 percent of farm tractors used such critical safety equipment.

Safety procedures and safety equipment need to be utilized at all times. If there are any work hazards that you spot on the job, speak up! Let an employer know so that they can make the appropriate adjustments to protect workers.

Each and every day, there are more than 240 agriculture employees who suffer lost-work-time injuries. About 5 percent of these accidents and injuries result in permanent injuries and impairment.

During this time of the year, all agricultural workers are urged to be careful. Make sure that you have all of the necessary safety equipment needed to get the job done! Practice safe working habits to stay injury free through what we hope is a long, productive harvest season!

If you or a a loved one, contact the Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Lee Law Offices, P.A. for legal advice regarding your case. Call 1-800-887-1965 today!

More Blog Entries:

Protecting Your Rights as a N.C. Employee, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, September 11, 2012

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