In 2013, the agriculture sector accounted for 479 worker deaths, the highest fatality rate of any industry sector. The Bureau of Labor Statistics documented more than 49,000 injuries in 2012, which is the last year statistics were available.
This year, the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) emphasized the importance of safe workplace practices by promoting National Farm Safety and Health Week. Farmers and labor unions have observed this safety initiative every year since 1944.
NECAS’s efforts were supported by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). From September 21-27, the agencies worked together to raise awareness about some of the farm industry’s biggest hazards.
Safety Hazards for Farmworkers
Farmwork can be extremely physical, and workers are constantly at risk for both fatal and nonfatal injuries, including:
- Heat exposure
- Confined-space hazards
- Hearing loss
- Fall hazards
- Occupational lung diseases
- Certain cancers
OSHA and NECAS also used the opportunity to warn workers about the dangers of grain engulfment, a lesser-known workplace hazard. If workers enter a grain bin while it is still operating, they risk being engulfed, suffocated or crushed by a sudden rush of grain.
OSHA holds events throughout the year to highlight the hazards of specific industries. The agency hopes providing information and promoting awareness will help management and employees work together to prevent workplace accidents.
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Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC
—Columbus Workers Comp Attorneys