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Farming sees highest fatal injury rate of industries

The farming industry is a dangerous one as many people in Pennsylvania no doubt know first-hand. It’s not just in the U.S., either, that the hazards are present. From July 20 to 24, the U.K.-based Farm Safety Foundation charity held Farm Safety Week to raise awareness of the importance of farming safety.

The Health and Safety Executive, which is the agency responsible for regulating workplace safety and health in Great Britain, published a report, entitled “Fatal injuries in agriculture, forestry and fishing in Great Britain 2019/20,” to coincide with Farm Safety Week. The report states that the agricultural sector sees the highest fatal injury rate in the country. In fact, it’s 18 times higher than the average rate for all industries combined.

A combination of dangers

In 2019, 21 people were killed in the agricultural industry, the youngest person being 4 years old. The older a worker was, the higher the risk for a fatal injury. In fact, around half of the fatally injured workers were aged 55 or older. The leading cause of death was transportation-related incidents such as vehicles turning over, workers being struck by vehicles and so on.

There were actually 18 more deaths in 2018 than in 2019. However, the farming industry is seeing many cases of not only injury and death but also ill-health, especially mental health.

Farm employees in the U.S. who are injured in work accidents can be eligible for benefits under workers’ compensation law, and these benefits may cover all medical expenses, including treatment, prescription and travel costs; a percentage of lost wages; and temporary or permanent disability leave. Benefits are not guaranteed since employers have the right to deny claims, and not all farmworkers are covered under the workers’ comp program, so victims may wish to consult a lawyer.