With Spring now well under way, farmers and their staff are now working tirelessly to ensure that the many crops that the Central Valley produces for the entire nation are successful, despite the drought. This time of year also serves as a good reminder of how crucial safety is in and around the farm.
Agriculture-related accidents continue to be ranked as some of the most dangerous. In one story out of Carver County, a 78-year old farmer Dennis Lenzen was installing tiling in a ditch on his farm field. An employee who had been working with Lenzen pushed dirt into the ditch in order to hold the tile in place, burying Lenzen. Despite the employees best efforts to dig Lenzen out by hand, Lenzen was pronounced dead at the scene.
A Look at the Statistics
The oldest and youngest farm workers are often those who bear the brunt of both non-fatal and fatal farming injuries. One report out of the United Kingdom suggested that individuals 65 and older are twice as likely to die in a farm-related accident than younger adults.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reveals some other frightening statistics:
- 167 agricultural workers lose time due to injury on the job every day
- 5% of these daily injuries result in permanent impairment
- 374 farmers and farm workers passed away in 2012 due to work-related accidents
- 113 youths below the age of 20 die each year due to farm-related injuries
It is estimated that as many as 14,000 youths were injured on farms in 2012. 2,700 of these injuries were the direct result of working on the farm. Youth are most likely to be injured or pass away due to:
- Accidents involving machinery, including tractors (23%)
- Accidents involving motor vehicles, including ATVs (19%)
- Drowning (16%)
Staying Safe on the Farm
A large part about staying safe on the farm is recognizing potential hazards. Equipment operation and chemical hazards are present on a daily basis. Farmers and their workers should be properly trained on how to operate and use these tools, and wear the appropriate protective gear when handling hazardous materials.
Environmental and natural hazards are also an important consideration. Driving an ATV to herd a cattle back to pasture will be easier to handle on a dry day than a wet and windy day. Obviously, caution and common sense are a necessity for working in this industry.
Farm workers may be injured due to the lack of knowledge or negligence of another. In these instances, a worker’s compensation claim may be enough. In others, a personal injury claim may be necessary to receive the finances and treatment necessary for a healthy recovery.
Our team of seasoned personal injury attorneys here at Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin have for many years represented workers who have been injured on and around the farm. Whether you seek counsel with your worker’s compensation claim or require powerful representation in court, we welcome your call. We invite you to contact us today at (209) 522-2211.
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