The agricultural industry plays a major part in Georgia’s economy, with 9.6 million acres of farmland and thousands employed in the sector. Agricultural work, although essential to the well-being of the country, can be hazardous for the workers. There are a number of risks inherent to the work, including equipment and machine hazards as well as chemical products. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 20.2 out of 100,000 fatality rate for farm workers. Workers employed in the agricultural sector are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured through the course of their employment. If you are an Atlanta worker who has questions regarding compensation, you should speak to a qualified workers’ compensation attorney to learn more about your options.
Safety Hazards for Agricultural WorkersThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has classified a wide range of safety hazards for agricultural workers must deal with in their daily tasks and equipment usage, from field work and cattle herding to transportation of goods. Avoiding injuries is highly dependent on following strict safety procedures for work. Depending on the type of agricultural work the worker is engaged in, they could face many of the following safety hazards:
- Grain Silos and Bins – Although often overlooked, grain bins and silos pose a variety of threats, such as suffocation and engulfment. Moving grain is similar to quicksand and it is imperative to follow safe practices.
- Hazardous Equipment and Machinery – Knives, cutting equipment, and other tools all present safety hazards. Machinery and tools should be maintained in good condition and always used in a safe manner to prevent injuries.
- Vehicle Hazards – Almost half of the agricultural injuries in 2011 were related to vehicle accidents.
- Unsanitary Conditions – Lack of sanitation facilities, handwashing stations, drinking water, and a number of other unsanitary conditions put workers health at risk in many ways.
- Falls from Ladders – Farm workers have a very high incidence of injuries, some fatal, due to falls.
- Pesticides and Other Chemicals – Modern agriculture employs the use of a variety of pesticides and chemicals that can be harmful if a worker is exposed.
- Respiratory hazards – Agriculture is abundant in air contaminants, from manure pits to grain silos and microorganisms.
- Zoonotic Infections – A variety of diseases may be passed from animals to humans, including avian flu or MRSA.
- Heat – Heat illnesses are common amongst workers exposed to hot and humid conditions. These injuries are all preventable by taking appropriate breaks and staying hydrated.
- Noise – Farm workers are exposed to much higher noise levels than the general population. Common sources include silage blowers, chain saws, grain dryers, animal noise, and tractors.