Hazards on farms are common, and injuries and even deaths are frequent. In fact, agriculture is widely considered one of the most hazardous industries, ranking up there with construction workers, roofers, pilots, and more.
Farm work is often seen as the backbone of America’s food supply. However, despite the noted importance of farm workers, injuries are still commonplace. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2020, there were an average of 32 injuries a day in agricultural production that required multiple days away from work.
In order to better understand the hazards on farms, it’s important to look at what farm activities prove the most dangerous. Knowing the source of most injuries can give us an idea of how to make the agricultural industry safer.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one due to hazards on farms, it is essential to contact a farm equipment injuries lawyer for help. Call Patrick Daniel Law today at (713) 999-6666 for a FREE case evaluation. We proudly serve clients in Houston, throughout Texas, and across the country.
What Is the Most Hazardous Thing on a Farm?
The leading causes of farm-related injuries are transportation incidents and contact with objects and equipment. The BLS reported 274 deaths related to transport in 2018. These types of incidents include tractor injuries (rollovers, runovers, entanglements, etc.), which killed 146 workers that year. Contact with machinery and objects was ranked second in fatal injuries, with 167 related deaths. It was also the cause of the most nonfatal injuries resulting in days away from work.
These statistics are shockingly clear. Heavy machinery is the culprit in the vast majority of farm injuries and fatalities. Though federal laws like the Occupational Safety and Health Act aim to protect all workers, including those on farms, they aren’t solving the problem. More must be done to safeguard workers.
Read More: Most Common Agricultural Injuries
Understanding the Risks
The first step toward any positive action is to understand the problem. Some of the common reasons that heavy machinery and equipment are hazards on farms include:
Tractor rollovers are among the most frequent fatal accidents. These incidents often occur due to steep inclines, slippery surfaces, or miscalculations while turning. OSHA requires roll-over protective structures (ROPS) and seat belts on all tractors manufactured after 1976. These safety precautions can minimize risks if used correctly and consistently.
Farm workers also commonly get entangled in machinery. This often happens when clothing, limbs, or hair get caught in moving parts of devices like balers, harvesters, or augers.
A machine malfunctioning due to a lack of maintenance or a manufacturing defect can be lethal. In some cases, even well-maintained equipment can fail due to unforeseen mechanical issues.
Improper training is another common contributor to accidents. Farm workers must be well-versed in operating complex machinery and should also be trained in emergency procedures.
Safety Precautions for Hazards on Farms
OSHA’s mission is to “ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.” OSHA has assembled guidelines on working safely with dangerous equipment, machinery, and vehicles. Their recommendations include:
- Adhere to manufacturers’ guidelines for equipment upkeep
- Properly ground and operate power tools
- Wear suitable personal protective equipment
- Secure long hair and avoid loose clothing, especially when near running machinery
- Keep workspaces well-lit and organized
- Turn off vehicles when refueling
- Use falling object protective structures (FOPS)
- Verify any towed implement is properly hitched
- When parking a vehicle:
- Turn off the engine
- Engage the brake
- Place it in gear or park-lock mode
- Remove the keys
- Disengage attachments
- Store fuel storage tanks separately
- Park the vehicle in an uncluttered area, away from livestock shelters
- Be mindful of electrical line heights relative to vehicle height
- Obtain proper training before operating a vehicle
- Familiarize yourself with the vehicle’s owner’s manual
Minimizing farm injuries and fatalities requires a comprehensive approach, prioritizing safety protocols and preventive measures. Effective communication and regular safety audits can address potential hazards.
Additionally, encouraging a safety culture that empowers workers to voice concerns and report hazards can play a significant role in preventing accidents. By prioritizing these measures, farm injuries and fatalities can be significantly reduced, ensuring a safer environment for all those working in agriculture.
Damages in a Farm Equipment Accident
If injuries are suffered due to a farm accident, victims may be able to pursue various damages to compensate for the physical, emotional, and financial toll they have endured. These damages may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain & suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Disfigurement & impairment
In the event of a wrongful death, a victim’s family may be able to pursue compensation for:
- Funeral & burial costs
- Loss of expected income & benefits
- Loss of consortium, companionship, and/or guidance
- Emotional distress
To ensure that all eligible damages are considered and properly pursued, consulting an experienced farm equipment injuries lawyer is crucial. They can navigate the legal complexities, assess the unique circumstances of the case, and strive to secure fair compensation for victims and their families.
Read More: How To Recover Full Compensation from a Farm Accident
Contact a Farm Equipment Injuries Attorney
While the hazards on farms are many, the operation of heavy machinery stands out as one of the most dangerous activities. It is imperative for farm workers to understand their rights and options, particularly when they have been injured on the job.
In the unfortunate event of an injury or the tragic loss of a family member, a farm equipment injuries lawyer can be of invaluable assistance. At Patrick Daniel Law, we can help establish who is responsible for the incident. This could be an employer for failing to provide adequate training, an equipment manufacturer for a design defect, or a third-party repair service for failing to properly maintain the machinery, among others.
After determining responsibility, we can proceed with the necessary legal steps, whether negotiating a settlement or filing a lawsuit. Our role is to pursue fair compensation for your losses. Contact Patrick Daniel Law today to schedule your FREE case evaluation.