Farm life comes with a variety of connotations: adventure, simplicity, solitude, nature, toughness, and so on. Regardless of personal attitude toward farming, it is a highly hazardous occupation. Working the land comes with numerous dangers both from machinery and nature.
The risk increases when a worker is in the senior years or is young and new to the trade. Migrant workers are often at risk, as well, due to insufficient training, communication, and availability of safety measures. Family members are also in danger, as they often live and/or work on the farm.
The top cause of injury and death on the farm
It is likely no surprise that the most common culprit is tractor turnovers and other transportation incidents, says the CDC. Tractors are a staple of farm work, but like other powerful machinery, they are also extremely dangerous. Tractors flipping over happen frequently, trapping victims beneath the massive vehicles. Other times, drivers fall off and the tractor or trailer runs over them. The use of Roll-Over Protective Structures and seat belts would significantly reduce the number of deaths.
Other transportation incidents include crashes on the road while driving tractors, trucks, ATVs, or other equipment.
Other sources of agricultural accidents, illnesses, and fatalities
While tractors may be the leading cause, they are by far not the only one. Other hazards farmworkers face include the following:
- Animal and insect attacks
- Needle sticks from medications for animals
- Exposure to toxic chemicals, such as pesticides
- Entrapment in machinery or equipment, including grain bins
- Falls from ladders, structures, and other high places
- Exposure to the elements
Furthermore, farmers are likely to experience strains, sprains, and musculoskeletal disorders from the hard labor they perform daily. If you experience any accident or injury while working on a farm, you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits to pay for the medical expenses, lost wages, and other financial consequences.