Farm accidents are extremely common. Every year, thousands of farmers are injured on the job. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the incidence rate of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses for workers in agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting is tied for the highest among all private industries with a rate of 4.6%.
Unfortunately, the data around fatality rates in this industry is also saddening. In 2020 there were 511 fatalities in the agricultural industry, behind only transportation & warehousing and construction. That said, the fatality rate is by far the highest in agriculture, with 21.5 fatalities per 100,000 workers. In transportation & warehousing, the second-highest industry for fatality rates, the number is just 13.4.
In other words, the agricultural industry is one of the most dangerous private industries to work in, resulting in more injuries and fatalities per person than any other private industry in the country. While some of this danger is due to uncontrollable environmental factors, many of the injuries and fatalities that occur in farm accidents are entirely avoidable.
There is no shortage of dangers for farm workers on the job. One study published in the journal Injury Epidemiology identified the most common mechanisms and types of agricultural injuries. Farm accidents commonly occur as a result of the following:
Farmers rely on heavy equipment to complete their jobs. This includes:
While machinery is crucial for farm work, it can also be very dangerous. This is especially the case when there are equipment defects, which account for the highest percentage of nonfatal injuries.
Unfortunately, children are often injured in these accidents. In fact, children have the highest rate of machinery-related injuries and fatalities in the agricultural industry.
According to the CDC, “Transportation incidents, which include tractor overturns, were the leading cause of death for farmers and farm workers” in 2020. Hence, while machinery defects and malfunctions may injure more people, transportation accidents are more likely to result in a fatality.
Agricultural transportation accidents may occur because of driver error. Other potential causes include poorly designed or manufactured equipment (such as tractors) that is susceptible to rollovers and other failures.
Many farmers rely on ladders and aerial lifts regularly to complete their work, placing them in danger of serious falls. According to the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health at the University of Iowa, “falls accounted for one in five emergency room visits, and 52% of individuals who fell had broken bones.”
Few injuries can be as difficult to cope with as burn injuries, which can result in excruciating pain, lifelong disfigurement, and death. Unfortunately, farmers are at high risk for burns due to the number of flammable substances they are around every day, including fuel, the gasses created by manure, and dust.
Silos are structures used to store dry products like grain and feed. They can be far more dangerous than they appear.
Large piles of dry grain can act like quicksand, entrapping someone in as little as 4 seconds and engulfing them completely within 20 seconds. If this happens, it is extremely difficult to remove someone from the silo, which can quickly result in suffocation.
Farming is an inherently strenuous job. When you’re injured, it may be difficult or even impossible to perform your job, resulting in lost income. This can be on top of medical bills, pain and suffering, equipment repair or replacement expenses, and more. In the worst situations, when a worker’s life is lost on the job, his or her family may struggle to replace the income they were earning.
There are multiple legal options available to farm workers and their families to recover damages:
Knowing what to do after a farm accident can be extremely difficult and stressful. You may be facing expenses that you can’t afford, injuries that you may not fully recover from, and the uncertainty of what to do next.
Patrick Daniel Law is here to help. We are Strategic, Meticulous, and Merciless, exploring all of your options for compensation and aggressively pursuing a favorable outcome on your behalf.
Contact Patrick Daniel Law for a FREE case review. Our firm handles farm accidents in and around Houston, all of Texas, and nationwide.