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Agriculture industry often dangerous for workers

Most North Carolina farm workers are probably aware that working on a farm or in the agriculture industry can be dangerous. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionranks agriculture as one of the most dangerous industries to be employed in. Not only are fatality and injury rates high, many of the workers at risk are individuals under the age of 20.

In 2012, the CDC estimated that approximately 731,000 of the 1,854,000 agricultural workers were under the age of 20. An additional 483,000 individuals under the age of 20 were estimated to live on farms. There are many work hazards that a worker may face, including vehicle accidents, falls and heat-related illnesses, in addition to musculoskeletal injuries. It was estimated by the CDC that an average of 167 workers suffer work-related injuries each day that require time off to recover, with approximately 5 percent of those injuries causing permanent disabilities or impairment.

In 2012, the CDC reported that 374 people were killed while working on farms. In many cases, the fatalities were determined to have been caused by tractor overturns. Youth workers are particularly at risk for being involved in fatal accidents, with an average of 113 youth workers dying every year. In fact, 34 percent of agriculture workers who die every year are between the ages of 16 and 19.

Although agriculture work can be hazardous, employers are responsible to make the job as safe for their employees as possible. Someone who suffers a workplace injury due to a poorly maintained piece of machinery, unsafe workplace or improper training may be entitled to seek workers' compensation. An attorney who has experience in this area can determine a client's eligibility and assist with the preparation and filing of the required claim.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Agricultual Safety", December 08, 2014

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