As a California rancher, farmer, vintner or other agricultural worker, you know that our state shines when it comes to agriculture. What you may not realize, however, is that agriculture work puts you at risk for a serious injury that could result in your total disability or even your death.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2015, the latest year for which statistics are available, 401 agricultural workers died nationwide due to a work-related injury. Perhaps not surprisingly, young people represented more than 25% of these fatal injuries. In fact, approximately 113 agricultural workers under the age of 21 die each year from on-the-job injuries.
You face your highest risk of injury from a tractor turnover or other transportation-related accident. Unfortunately, while Roll-Over Protective Structures significantly reduce the incidence of tractor turnovers, only about 60% of farm tractors come equipped with them. Other major injury risks include the following:
- Falling from a farm structure such as a grain bin, barn, silo, etc.
- Entangling yourself in a piece of machinery such as a hay mower, an auger, etc.
- Suffocating as the result of becoming trapped in a silo, grain bin, etc.
Overall agricultural worker statistics
If you work in agriculture full time, it may surprise you to learn that you are one of about 2.8 million people nationwide who do so. If you do seasonal work, the number of your cohorts ranges between 1.4 and 2.1 million, at least 266,000 of whom are under the age of 21.
While you should not interpret this general educational information as legal advice, it can help you understand the dangers you face as an agricultural worker.