If you are a farm or agricultural worker, you are used to long hours and difficult weather conditions. Your work is physically exhausting and places intense stress on your body. On top of that, farm-related injuries and fatalities are all too common, and many job requirements are high-risk.
According to the Institutional Review Board and Department of Health, there were 141 fatal farm-related accidents from 2010-2014 in Pennsylvania alone.
Common risk factors that can lead to injury or death
In the agricultural injury, greater risks are associated with:
- Summertime: Fatality risks are high during the summer months when farm work peaks. Deaths are most frequent in the afternoon during the months of July and August when you are working your hardest and your children are out of school.
- Age: Approximately half of all fatalities affect the young and the old. This includes children under 14 and adults over 65.
- Gender: Male workers account for the majority of fatalities on the farm, at an estimated rate of 84%.
Some of the leading causes of injury include:
- Vehicles and trucks: Operating large vehicles, especially tractors, can be very dangerous. Tractors account for an estimated 52% of all farm-related fatalities. Vehicle-related accidents are a leading cause of injury and death in agricultural work.
- Heavy machinery: Large tools are a major component of your job, but they can also be risky. Just over 1 out of every 6 farm-related fatalities occurs as a result of machinery use.
- Animal hazards: Livestock attacks, horseback injuries and aggressive animal behavior (including kicks and bites) all can produce serious injury.
- Environmental hazards: Grain crops can be dangerous once harvested, and workers can get trapped beneath grain piles. Falling trees can cause blunt trauma, and there is a risk of logs and loose tree limbs getting sucked into farm machinery and creating a serious situation.
- Agricultural structures: Both new construction and buildings in disrepair can produce serious farm-related injuries and even death.
Knowledge of potential hazards is valuable tool and can help you take measures to reduce risk and increase safety on the farm, for both you and your children.