This week is Farm Safety Week in the United States, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is trying to raise awareness to the hazards workers in the agricultural industry face. The agricultural industry has one of the highest fatality rates in the country, with 475 workers being killed on-the-job last year.
In addition to the high fatality rate, there were 48,300 workplace injuries in the agricultural industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2011. These are scary statistics as over two million people work in the agricultural industry in the United States.
Due to the high fatality and injury rate, OSHA is working with National Education Center for Agricultural Safety on educating workers and employers about the hazards in the workplace and what steps to take to increase safety.
Some of the hazards agricultural workers face are caused by farm equipment, confined spaces and grain handling. These hazards can lead to very serious injuries and fatalities for farm workers, which is why OSHA is promoting the safety campaign to educate workers about these dangers.
Farm workers also face many occupational illness hazards. Some of the most common work-related illnesses include lung disease, hearing loss, skin diseases, heat exposure and cancer. Workplaces are supposed to be free from occupational exposures that can cause illnesses but it is up to employers to make sure that they are providing safety equipment and training to keep workers safe.
Farm workers in Minnesota should be aware of the hazards they face working in the agricultural industry. Their employers are supposed to provide training and education about these hazards and what steps to take to reduce the risks of being injured or suffering an illness. However, not all employers do the right thing and this can lead to serious accidents and fatalities.
Workers who have been injured in a workplace accident should contact a workers' compensation attorney to discuss what benefits they may be eligible to receive.
Source: EHS Today, "OSHA Cultivating Safety Awareness With Agriculture Community," Sandy Smith, Sept. 17, 2013