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The agricultural sector is the nation’s most dangerous

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

The agricultural sector is dangerous, posing notable risks to workers’ safety. Among the fields and farms, dangers lurk that make agricultural work more hazardous than many other professions.

Understanding why this industry is so dangerous helps make it safer for those working in it.

Hazardous machinery and equipment

A key reason for the danger in agriculture is the use of hazardous machinery and equipment. Tractors, combines and other heavy machines found on farms can cause serious injuries. The complexity of these machines, along with long hours of operation, increases the risk of accidents.

Exposure to harmful substances

Agricultural workers often deal with harmful substances. Some of these might include pesticides and fertilizers. These can lead to health issues like respiratory problems and skin disorders with prolonged exposure. Lack of access to protective gear and proper safety training amplifies the risk.

Lack of safety training and regulations

Despite the dangers, there is a lack of comprehensive safety training and regulations in agriculture. Many farm workers get minimal training on safe work practices. This is especially true in small-scale operations. Also, safety standards and enforcement vary widely across states.

High rates of fatalities and injuries

The high rates of fatalities and injuries in agriculture highlight these safety gaps. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that agriculture was the nation’s most dangerous industry in 2019, with 573 worker deaths that year. Agricultural injury rates also outpace those seen in many other sectors.

Improving safety in agriculture requires efforts from farmers, policymakers and regulators to prioritize worker safety and implement stricter safety standards.