Farming is Dangerous Work
March 24, 2015
In Monday's Star Tribune was a tragic report of a death in Renville County of a 53-year-old farmer who was crushed by the tractor tire he was trying to change.
For every 100,000 farm workers, about 25 are killed each year and 243 are injured. 5% of those injuries result in some sort of permanent disability. The National Safety Council also reports that of the approximately 3.1 million people who work on America's 2.3 million farms and ranches, 1300 die each year and 120,000 are injured. This makes farming one of the most dangerous occupations in America, right behind underground coal mining.
Sadly, many farm fatalities involve children. The National Center for Farmworker Health estimates that between 180,000 and 800,000 agricultural workers in the United States are under 18 years of age and more than 300 of these children die each year in farming related accidents.
In 2012 the United States Department of Labor tried to ban children under the age of 16 from operating any kind of power driven farm equipment, including tractors, and to prevent children under 18 from working in grain silos, feedlots or stockyards. This effort was rejected.
Farms also enjoy special protection from workers compensation laws in Minnesota. Injured workers often have little or no recourse. There are, however, many successfully reported cases against equipment manufacturers whose farming equipment causes or contributes to injury due to poor design. The only way to determine if that is true in a particular case is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.