Farms across Maryland contribute to the fundamental needs of society with their food production. This important work, however, involves many workplace hazards. Every year, the National Safety Council reminds farm workers and farm owners to stay alert for dangerous situations while cultivating, harvesting and processing crops.
Citing the thousands of annual injuries associated with farm work, the council urges farmers to put safety first. Safety experts place agriculture among the most dangerous industries. A study done by the U.S. Department of Labor in 2013 found that 500 people died while working on farms that year. This translated into a rate of 23.2 fatalities for every 100,000 agricultural workers.
Agricultural jobs place people in diverse activities from driving large trucks to handling livestock. Other duties involve transporting and using hazardous chemicals, running heavy machinery and entering confined spaces like tanks, grain elevators or silos. The council has called for increasing awareness of farm safety issues and providing farmers with the knowledge and methods that could reduce on-the-job risks.
Because workplace accidents are prevalent in agricultural settings, an employee should be aware of how to apply for workers’ compensation benefits in the event of an injury. This insurance system, however, has complex reporting requirements about workplace injuries and strict deadlines. To better understand what benefits are available, an injured worker may want to meet with an attorney who has experience with these matters. An attorney can provide an eligible worker with assistance in preparing and filing the claim. The attorney can also provide representation at a subsequent hearing in the event that the claim is disputed by the employer or its insurance carrier.