Some may idealize the beauty of working the land to harvest food and grain without acknowledging the inherent risk for farm accidents. Compared to the simple tools used thousands of years ago, today’s farmers must contend with modern machinery and chemicals. Farming accidents are a real factor to consider when becoming a farmer or looking for farming work. Read on for a discussion of farm accident statistics and farm safety tips.
- In 2012 alone there were 374 farming related deaths; resulting in a very high fatality rate of 20.2 deaths per 100,000 workers. Tractor overturns were the leading cause of death for these farmers and farm workers with about 270 per year.
- On average, 113 youth under the age of 20 die every year from farm-related injuries (taken from statistics between 1995 and 2002), with 34 percent of these deaths occurring to youth between 16 and 19 years of age.
- 23 percent of all deaths among youth involved machinery (including tractors).
- Agricultural workers suffer work-place injuries at a high rate compared to other types of work. Every day, about 167 agricultural workers suffer an injury that requires time off from work to recover; five percent of these injuries result in permanent impairment.
- In 2012, approximately 14,000 youth were injured on farms; 2,700 of these injuries were as a result of farm work.
Top 4 Farm Accidents
- Tractor accidents are by far the most common and deadly farming accidents; tractor related deaths account for anywhere between 250 and 300 deaths per year. The most common cause for serious injury involving a tractor is the rollover. Technology does exist for rollover protective structures and high quality seat belts but many tractors do not come with that equipment.
- With the amount of grain, fruit, hay, and other commodities that get moved around a farm, sometimes worker become entrapped under a load of product in a silo, barn, or other similar structure.
- Many farmers use heavy doses of chemicals to care for their livestock, enhance soil, and treat produce. There is potential for farm workers to become exposed and sick from these chemicals which can lead to both short and long term negative health effects.
- Injuries occur from direct contact with farm animals including trampling, sickness, etc.
Tips on Preventing Farm Accidents
The OSHA fact sheet offers insight into the lead causes of farming accidents and how to prevent them: Common accident factors include: Roll-over protective structures for tractors, emergency preparedness, age of workers, and protective equipment for farming machinery.
The most effective way to prevent tractor overturn deaths by tractors is the use of a Roll-Over Protective Structure (ROPS). In 2012, just 59 percent of tractors used on farms in the U.S. were equipped with ROPS. It is believed that survival rate of overturn when in a properly protected tractor improves from a frightening 38 percent up to 99 percent. These numbers show that it is irresponsible not to provide these safety elements on all tractor models.
Farmers should embrace emergency preparedness as a way to prevent or best handle accidents. It is important to consider that farms are often in rural areas with a long drive to a hospital. In order to prepare for possible accidents, farmers should take inventory of all hazardous material and equipment on the premises and supply the proper measures to deal with injury. For example, a physical injury will require first aid; a chemical burn can require poison prevention, etc.
People under the age of 15 and over the age of 65 are most likely to be injured in general and that applies on the farm as well. Farm owners should accommodate those people most at risk and make sure they have the proper safety equipment, training and, if applicable, supervision to avoid an accident.
Protective equipment on farm machines is critical for safety. Farming equipment is usually large and capable of chopping, shredding, gathering, and more. Seat belts and other protective measures are rarely required by law so shortcuts are often taken despite the lives and injuries that could be saved if they were used.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!