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With spring planting comes risk to agricultural workers

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2020 | Work Injuries |

With the change of seasons in Minnesota comes a flurry of activity in the agricultural sector. Thousands of people across the state of Minnesota engage in seasonal farming work. When soil temperatures rise enough to allow for plowing and planting, farm work across the state begins in earnest.

Unfortunately, agricultural workers in Minnesota can wind up hurt on the job. Not only do they have to worry about overexertion and heatstroke during the warmer months, but there are also concerns related to chemical exposure and the dangerous machinery that agricultural workers must use as part of their job. Injured agricultural workers often require workers’ compensation benefits during their recovery.

How common are injuries to agricultural workers?

When people think of dangerous jobs, farming usually isn’t high on the list. Driving, working in construction, offshore drilling and mining are likely what people think of when they think of a dangerous profession. However, every year, thousands of agricultural workers get hurt on the job, and some even die.

Every day across the United States, roughly 100 workers suffer lost-time injuries on the job. Additionally, in 2017, the most recent year with statistics available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 416 agricultural workers died on the job.

Farmworkers can’t take a day off due to bad weather

In addition to all of the standard risks that come with working in agriculture comes the unending demand for labor. Dairy cows don’t care if it’s snowing outside when it’s time for them to get milked. The approaching rainstorm that could damage tender, freshly planted sprouts may necessitate hurried efforts to protect the fields.

No matter how muddy, rainy or hot it is outside, agricultural workers still have to show up and do their job. Unfortunately, working in those inclement conditions, especially with heavy machinery, can increase the risk that workers face. A tractor stuck in mud could easily tip over onto someone and cause catastrophic, if not fatal injuries.

Tractor overturns are a major source of injury among farmworkers, but injury due to overexertion is also common. Agricultural workers and their families should know about the risks involved in their jobs, as well as the benefits they deserve if they get hurt on the job.