People often think of agriculture as a safe and peaceful profession. That perspective is the result of glamorizing farm work. Anyone who has worked in crop production or livestock care can easily explain how dirty, difficult and dangerous agricultural work really is.
There are all sorts of risks. Entering a facility used for long-term grain storage could result in dangerous chemical exposure and even death due to the inhalation of gases. Handling livestock could lead to traumatic injuries. Even the machines that you depend on to make agricultural work less physically demanding could read to severe injury and death on the job.
Tractors and similar agricultural machinery are responsible for a large number of the total agricultural deaths every year. What are the two main ways in which tractors or similar equipment might put a worker at risk?
Overturns or rollover incidents
Tractors are huge pieces of machinery that often operate on uneven and sloped terrain. Especially after inclement weather when the ground is slick or the wheel gets stuck, there is a risk of a tractor turning over. Tractors can roll to the side, especially when working on an incline, or they could even roll backward over the rear axle.
An overturn could hurt someone operating the tractor or anyone nearby. These incidents are the leading cause of death in agriculture. Every year, roughly 130 people lose their lives because tractors roll over or tip.
Accidental contact with a tractor or attachments
You don’t have to be the one operating a tractor for it to be dangerous to you. While they are loud devices, protecting your hearing with noise-canceling safety equipment might mean you don’t hear a tractor approaching you.
Workers struck by a tractor could suffer catastrophic injuries. The same is true for those who experience accidental contact with the tractor’s attachments. Some tractor attachments could even pull a person or part of their body into the machinery, causing even worse injuries than the initial trauma alone would cause.
Those working in agriculture take out a lot of risks to keep the country fed. Understanding your rights as an injured agricultural worker can help you claim the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve if a tractor injures you on the job.