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The high risk of farm injuries

As Pennsylvania farmers may know, the occupational agriculture may involve some risk of injury, and in some cases, the injuries may be fatal. Furthermore, because many families live on their farms, teenagers are frequently employed in the agriculture industry, and the risks for underage workers are great as well.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health collects statistics on agricultural employment and injury. The data from 2012 indicated that production agriculture employs 1,854,000 full-time workers. An estimated 259,000 young people under the age of 20 are hired from outside to work on farms, and another 472,000 teenagers work on farms where they live. That second figure amounts to about half of all youth that lives on farms.

An average of 167 farm workers are injured severely enough to miss subsequent work each day. Of these, one out of 20 will be permanently disabled. Furthermore, an estimated 374 individuals died while engaged in farm work in 2012, and farm-related injury kills 113 young people under the age of 20 each year. The leading cause of farm fatalities is being crushed by a tractor that has rolled over. The addition of a rollover protective structure to a tractor is the best means of preventing such fatalities, but in 2012, only 59 percent of tractors were equipped with these devices.

An individual who has suffered a farm-related injury while engaged in agricultural work may be eligible for workers' compensation. However, the process for seeking such benefits may be complicated, and failure to properly file documentation may result in delays or denials of compensation. An attorney who is familiar with the system could help the injured party throughout the filing process.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Agricultual Safety", December 08, 2014

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