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Risks that California agricultural workers face

On behalf of Katnik & Katnik Lawyers on Friday, August 24, 2018.

Farm and field work makes up a large portion of California's job market. They provide plenty of career opportunities for people of various work, education and ethnic backgrounds to help feed their families.

However, the different outdoor conditions, machinery and manpower involved also makes this one of the more hazardous industries out there. Between 2013 to 2016, the agricultural industry had the highest average fatality rate out of all the different job fields in California. Any injury or disease you receive in this position could put you in a rough state that impacts how you can work in the future, so it is important to be aware of some of the hazards that have damaged other farmers and field workers in the past.

Trouble in the heat

Working in the fields under the sun all day long can take a massive toll on your body. If you do not pace and properly hydrate yourself, you risk developing various heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke and rhabdomyolysis. If you or another worker catch these, you need to stop working, find shade to cool yourself off and drink plenty of water before you get back to your task. If you see that someone else is having a difficult time recovering, call for an ambulance and keep them cool while they drive to your location.

California agricultural workers are also at high risk of obtaining diseases from overexposure to the sun. Before you go to work, make sure you protect your skin with clothing and sunscreen to decrease the chances of getting sunburn or skin cancer.

Bugs and pesticide

Farmers often have to deal with pesky insects that can harm their crops, so they cover areas with pesticide to drive them away. Unfortunately, bugs are not the only ones that can be hurt by this chemical. Many California workers have reported illnesses brought upon from pesticide exposure. It can range from short-term conditions like headaches and nausea to long-term diseases such as birth defects or cancer.

While pesticide is effective, it cannot get rid of all bugs. Workers that deal with crops often have to deal with mosquitoes, ticks and spiders that could give them different sicknesses such as Lyme disease.

Machine negligence

Farm workers often have to operate hazardous equipment that could pose a threat to the other workers. Tractor accidents are one of the most common causes of farm fatalities due to the machine turning over and injuring the driver and anyone nearby or due to the operator not keeping a close eye on what is in front of them. Employers at California farms or fields should provide proper training to machine operators and give the equipment safety checks before usage.

With how often accidents or illnesses occur at farms, you should be aware of the potential workers' compensation that is available if you or a loved one are damaged from working in the fields.

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