Lessons Learned from Ag Safety Week in North Carolina

According to an Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) news release, the agriculture sector accounted for 475 deaths during 2012.

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Our Greensboro worker’s compensation lawyers know how dangerous working in agriculture can be. The dangers are real but there are preventative measures that can make a significant difference.

OSHA reveals that the agriculture sector had a fatality rate of 21.2 full-time workers per 100,000 workers. In addition, there were 48,300 injuries recorded in 2011 – the last year for which finalized statistics are available.

There are more than 2 million individuals employed in the agricultural industry in the United States.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration supports an annual National Farm Safety and Health Week. During this week, the organization emphasizes the importance of employee safety in the agricultural sector.

Farm Safety and Health Week is commonly observed as farmers prepare for harvest and it has been observed on an annual basis since 1944. During this time period safety information and materials are posted on the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety’s website.

Research shows that farm workers are at high risk for certain cancers, skin diseases, noise-induced hearing loss, heat exposure, work-related lung diseases, and all manner of fatal and nonfatal injuries.

Farm workers are sometimes exposed to very dangerous chemicals and spend a great deal of time in the sun. There is additional information available regarding agricultural hazards on OSHA’s website.

At least 26 United States farm workers were killed in 2010 in grain engulfments. That is the highest number since records have been kept. In response to the high number of fatalities

OSHA announced safety guidelines to reduce fall and confined space hazards, guide grain bin entry, prevent entanglement and general guidelines on other common agricultural industry hazards.

Grainsafety.org recommends a number of grain hazard prevention strategies including:

• Invest in a safe environment – Understand that accidents are preventable. The first step is to identify hazards and fix them immediately.
• Establish Safety Practices – All employees and family members should be properly trained and follow safety procedures at all times.
• Engulfment/Entrapment – Safe bin entry procedures are important: Never enter alone, always use a safety harness and a secured lifeline.
• Entanglement – Never wear loose fitting clothing or accessories that hang off of your body such as jewelry. Be certain that all machines have guards and follow lock out procedures. In addition, never disable or dismantle guards.
• Being Struck by a Vehicle or Object – Glasses and a hard hat should be worn at all times. Stay alert to all hazards around you including all moving machinery and vehicles.
• Falls – Ladders should be in good repair and the ladder’s safety procedures must be followed. Never extend a ladder beyond its intended height and always wear protection in case of a fall.
• Dust Explosions – Keep the environment clean to prevent combustible dust from accumulating.

Contact our Carolina worker’s compensation attorneys today by calling 800-887-1965.

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