Farmers are at high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries. Due to the nature of the work, family members who often share in the work and live on the property are also at risk for farming injuries.
Farm work often involves heavy equipment, unpredictable weather, and other risk factors. Injuries are common. Each day about 100 agricultural workers suffer from injuries that result in lost work time. About half of injuries for hired crop workers are classified as a strain or sprain.
Who is at Risk?
According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, there were approximately 2,038,000 production agriculture workers in 2018. Anywhere between 1.4 to 2.1 million hired crop workers are employed annually in the US. Approximately 893,000 youth under age 20 lived on farms in 2014, with about half performing farm work.
Types of Farming Injuries
Tractor rollover: In 2017, 416 farmers and farm workers died due to a work-related injury. Transportation incidents such as tractor overturns were the leading cause of death.
Slip and fall accidents: Wet conditions and/or activities such standing on silos and repairing barns can lead to falls. These incidents can cause severe injuries such as broken bones and traumatic brain injuries.
Exposure to toxic chemicals: Long term use of pesticides and other chemicals can lead to breathing problems and other issues.
Heat stress: Working outside in the summer or in a heated environment can lead to dizziness, heat cramps, heart problems, heat stroke, and the like.
Suffocation: Working around full grain bins presents risk for suffocation. Farming building also typically have low ventilation levels, which can create complications.
Entanglements: Limbs, fingers, hair, and other extremities can get caught in farm equipment, leading to serious injuries.
Animal injuries: A stubborn animal may land a kick in just the right spot to break a bone or cause other types of injuries.
Preventing Tractor Overturns
Using a Roll-Over Protective Structure (ROPS) with a seatbelt is the most effective way to prevent tractor overturn deaths. Commercially available ROPS can be difficult to find, however, and in many cases are not available for older wheeled tractors.
The NIOSH Division of Safety Research and Protective Technology Branch has developed an alternative. Cost-effective rollover protective structures (CROPS) have been designed for four different tractor models: Ford 8N, Ford 3000, Ford 4000, and Massey Ferguson 135. Each of the CROPS was tested in accordance with a Society of Automobile Engineers industry standard performance test.
These designs can be used by individuals for privately owned tractors or companies who want to build and sell NIOSH CROPS. In addition to installing a ROPS or CROPS on the tractor, it is recommended that tractor operators wear seat belts for additional protection in the event of a tractor rollover.
If you or someone you love has suffered from an injury sustained in a farming accident, call our office today to schedule a free consultation. We’re on your side and we will help you get the compensation you deserve to offset the costs associated with a personal injury. John Schuerman is a compassionate advocate for injury victims. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. You can schedule a free consultation today by calling Schuerman Law at 1-800-274-0045.