The Top 5 Dangers on a Farm
Farming is one of the most rewarding professions in the United States. Many farms have been in the same family for generations. It creates a bond within families while contributing to the community. On the other hand, it is also the most dangerous jobs in the world. Behind every corner, there could be potential hazards and/or threats. Almost 200 farm workers are injured on the job every day.
We compiled a list of the most common dangers on a farm. Do you know what they are, and could you be in danger of being injured by them? More importantly, do you know who to contact after you have been injured?
5. Grain Bins
Grain bin injuries are very dangerous. The most common one is suffocation. Sometimes when a worker enters a bin, the usually wet and packed grain can break apart. This causes someone to sink and become engulfed. The whole incident can occur in just 20 seconds. This injury brings a 62% fatality rate since the average time it takes emergency responders to rescue the farmer is almost 4 hours.
Electrocution injuries can be quick but often deadly. According to the National Agricultural Safety Database, approximately 62 farmers die every year after being electrocuted. Others suffer burns and disturbances to heart rhythm that may later result in heart failure. Nearly 1 in 10 farmers will be electrocuted on the job.
The most common risk of electrocution is contact with an overhead power line. This can occur when farm equipment hits the lines, which are typically not insulated. Even if the lines are insulated, the insulation may have worn away in areas due to exposure to the elements.
Exposed underground power lines also pose electrocution risk, and defective wiring and extension cords are other common causes of electrocution, along with internal wiring in farm buildings.
3. Corn Picker & Combines
Farmers use corn pickers and combines to harvest corn. A corn picker strips the stalks close to the ground using a pronged header. It then feeds them into a combine, which husks them with huge, sharp, rotating rollers. A conveyor belt carries the husked ears further into the machine, where they are dropped into a large, moving container.
Corn pickers and combines cause numerous injuries and deaths. According to the National Agricultural Safety Database, “Virtually every farmer knows of a family member, friend or neighbor who has been injured in a corn picker.”
Corn pickers’ rollers are responsible for many farm worker injuries because the corn stalks tend to plug them if the machine is moving, either too quickly or slowly. Workers attempting to free the stalk can lose their hands and arms as the rollers continue to rotate because the rollers rotate at about 12 feet per second. That means a farmworker holding a stalk, even at a distance of three feet away from a roller, has less than half a second to let go.
2. Power Take-Off
Power Take-Off injuries are very common on a farm. According to the National Agricultural Safety Database, most PTO accidents occur when clothing and/or limbs are entangled in the rotating PTO shaft.
“Power Take Off” (PTO) is a term used to describe the process of transmitting power from one point to another.A PTO shaft, for example, is a cylindrical metal rod that attaches to a power source, such as a tractor, at one end and an attachment, such as a brush hog mower, at the other. When the tractor’s engine is running, power flows along the shaft. The shaft rotates at engine speed, transferring energy from the engine to the attachment.
Farm equipment is widely recognized as being unsafe. Designers and manufacturers of farm machinery have an obligation to make sure their products are as safe as possible. If you have been injured or lost a loved one due to a PTO accident resulting from an unshielded or defective PTO shaft, you may be entitled to compensation.
1. Tractor Rollovers
When a tractor overturns, this is the number one cause of injury or death on a farm. According to the International Labor Organization, more than half of the 335,000 workplace fatalities around the globe occur in agriculture, making farming one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Last year, over 350 farmers died in the US alone.
The heavy configuration of the machine combined with uneven terrain means the equipment can flip. Even the most experienced operators have been involved in a rollover. A lot of the issue is tractor manufacturers do not design tractors safely. Plus, they often fail to warn of the operating dangers.
For example, newer tractors are required to have rollover protection systems (ROPS), but older models often tip over. Of the 4.8 million tractors currently operated in the U.S., 50% don’t have ROPS or seat belts. (Wearing a seat belt ensures a higher survival rate, but it’s not foolproof.)
That means: If you have a tractor accident, it’s likely you are not at fault. Injuries sustained as a result of working with farm equipment are rarely caused by farm who use them.
Even if you think you might be partially at fault, you may still be eligible for compensation. Again, that’s because you don’t have to misuse a tractor for it to malfunction. Tractor accidents occur because manufacturers’ designs are not safe, and tractor companies neglect to warn you of all the ways you can be injured while using these heavy, complex machines.