Agriculture is one of America’s fundamental industries, employing millions of people across the U.S. According to the CDC, there were about 2,050,000 full-time workers who held jobs in this industry in 2017, the most recent year complete data has been made available. Those numbers could continue to climb right along with the general population reported in next year’s census.
As necessary and important as this industry is, though, it is also incredibly dangerous. Let’s take a quick look at some important statistics:
- 21.4 workers died for every 100,000 workers in the industry in 2016.
- That led to a total of 417 deaths during the year.
- The leading cause of death was transportation incidents.
- One big type of transportation incident that claimed lives was when tractors overturned on the job.
- Roughly 100 workers in the agriculture industry get hurt every single day, on average.
- The above just includes workers who lose time at work due to their injuries, so there are even more minor issues than those that show up in the reports.
- Strains and sprains are very common, making up half of all injuries in some reports.
- Young workers face serious dangers; 12,000 of them suffered injuries in 2014.
This is merely a small sampling of the statistics coming out of the agriculture industry, but they help to paint a very clear picture of the risks. People lose their lives and suffer serious, life-changing injuries all the time. Farms are not safe places to work. Physical labor takes a toll. Many workers face incredible risks that they themselves may not even fully realize.
How can you stay safe?
There are things you can do to stay safe on the job. First and foremost, make sure that you always have proper personal protection equipment. Never cut corners to do a job, even if it would be faster. Always get the right safety training when using heavy machinery.
That said, some of this is out of your hands. What if your employer pressures you to disregard safety to work quickly? What if they don’t offer safety training? What if you are given heavy machinery that is in poor condition and that is therefore far more prone to a serious accident?
You can do everything possible to stay safe on your end and still find yourself on the way to the hospital with injuries that you are never going to recover from. You may never work again.
If this happens to you, it is crucial that you understand all of the legal options you have in California and what steps you need to take. The agriculture industry is dangerous, and you must know how to react when that risk strikes close to home.