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Safety in agricultural employment

Farmers and other Pennsylvania residents employed in agricultural industries are exposed to some of the greatest risks of any employees in the state. Agricultural employment is not only hazardous, but the hazard has a tendency to carry over to the families of the workers.

Nearly two million Americans are employed as farm laborers. A bit less than a million Americans under the age of 20 reside on farms and other agricultural sites, and approximately half of them work on the farm as well. There are also nearly 260,000 youths who work on farms but live elsewhere. In the year 2012, 374 of these agricultural workers were reported to have died at work. That equals 20.2 deaths for every 100,000 workers. In the average year about 113 workers younger than 20 will lose their lives. Tractor rollovers, motor vehicle accidents and drowning were among the leading causes of death. In addition to trauma, it is also possible to encounter toxins such as pesticides, conditions that cause pulmonary disease or musculoskeletal disorders, loud environments that may lead to hearing loss, and other situations that cause stress.

Approximately 167 workers suffer an injury that causes them to lose time at work every day. About 9 of them will be hurt in such a way that they are permanently impaired. The farm can be dangerous for everyone, even those who are not employed there. 14,000 youths were injured on farms in 2012, and only 2,700 of those deaths were caused by farm work.

Workers' compensation insurance may be available for some Pennsylvania agricultural workers who are injured on the job. An attorney who has experience in this area can help assess a client's situation regarding eligibility.

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

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