Farm Accidents Can be Deadly
Not many people realize that farming is one of the deadliest professions in the world. More than half of the 335,000 workplace fatalities around the globe occur in agriculture. In the United States, agriculture has been the deadliest U.S. industry every year for the past decade, beating mining and construction in deaths per 100,000 workers. In addition to the high number of fatalities that occur on farms annually, thousands of injuries take place that are often severe and sometimes even catastrophic in nature.
Why are the rural, beautiful areas we associate with wholesome Americana so dangerous? One reason is modern machinery. When tractors replaced horses as the main piece of farm equipment nearly 100 years ago, they became the main source of farm accidents. Tractors claim 125 lives per year, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Tractor roll-overs are all too common despite roll-over protective structures (ROPS) that are mandated on all tractors built after 1985 in the United States.
Other modern machinery claims lives and inflicts devastating injuries on the farms of today. Combines, choppers, and hay balers are a few examples of machines that can catch clothing and trap limbs; grain bins and silos can bury and suffocate workers, and long term exposure or an accidental over-exposure to chemicals and pesticides can result in serious injury and even death. Sometimes, the accident is caused by human error, but other times it is due to improper design or function of the equipment. In the latter case, the manufacturer of the equipment may be held liable.
Of course, not all injuries and fatalities on farms are caused by modern machinery. Unfortunately, mutilation and death from goring or trampling by livestock still occurs. Long hours working in the hot sun can and do lead to heatstroke, despite warnings about and best efforts to prevent it. Finally, ordinary slip and fall accidents happen on a farm just like they happen in any other workplace.
Farms are Largely Unregulated Workplaces
Unlike other hazardous industries in the U.S., such as mining, fishing, or construction, farming is largely unregulated. Farms with fewer than 10 workers–which is most farms today–are not regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”). Therefore, if old tractors without the ROPS are being used (or if the ROPS have been removed), or if other safeguards are not in place on farm equipment, there is no oversight authority in place to protect workers. Accidental exposure to toxic chemicals, accidents due to worker fatigue, and equipment not being maintained properly are all safety and health issues that OSHA would normally address but does not have the authority to regulate on farms.
What this means is that farm workers are left unprotected. With a small number of people working a family farm, even a momentary distraction or a forgotten safety measure during the long hours at harvest time can mean a serious injury or even a fatality. With no insurance and workers’ compensation benefits available for most farm workers, the only way to pay for the medical expenses, lost wages and other damages such as the pain and suffering associated with the serious injury or the wrongful death of a loved one is by hiring a skilled attorney to protect your rights.
Our Experience Counts! Call Attorney Ed Smith Now to Learn More!
Have you or a loved one suffered an injury in an auto accident at the hands of another? I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Farming Injury Attorney with the primary accident information site on the web, www.AutoAccident.com. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident caused by the negligence of another, call me now at (916) 921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.
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