Agricultural workers in Maryland are employed in one of the country’s most dangerous industries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While working on farms and with farm equipment, agricultural workers are regularly exposed to conditions that put them at risk for serious injuries that could potentially be fatal.
Using data that was collected in 2012, the CDC found that 374 agricultural workers died that year as a result of workplace accidents. Among these fatal accidents, the leading cause of death was tractor overturn. Data that was collected between 1995 and 2002 found that about 113 youths under the age of 20 die every year while working on farms. Most of the fatal injuries involving youth involved some type of machinery like a tractor.
Each day, more than 160 agricultural workers are injured while working on a farm, causing them to miss work. In 2012 alone, 14,000 youth workers suffered non-fatal injuries. To improve safety in the agricultural industry, the CDC advises that farmers add Roll-Over Protective Structures to all of their tractors. However, only about 59 percent of all farm tractors in the U.S. were fitted with ROPS in 2012.
An agricultural worker who has been involved in a workplace accident may be entitled to seek reimbursement for their lost wages and medical expenses through a workers’ compensation claim. If a farm worker is an independent contractor and not covered by workers’ compensation insurance, an attorney might be able to help the injured individual determine what legal options he or she may have.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Agriculture Safety“, December 08, 2014