For workers across Pennsylvania and other agricultural states, fall is a busy harvest season. In Pennsylvania, major agricultural sectors include corn and wheat grown for grain, mushrooms, fruit orchards, dairy products, and livestock. With plant and vegetable crops, fall harvest time brings an increased need for safety as the industry ramps up to gather mature crops and prepare them for market. Workers in the agriculture industry have the right to a safe workplace and should be mindful of the increased hazards on the job and their rights if injury should strike.
The agriculture industry is a major part of the United States economy, employing more than two million people in direct agriculture production. Yet, it remains one of the most hazardous fields for workers. In 2016, there were 417 deaths of agriculture workers, which is 21.4 fatalities per 100,000 employees. Because harvest season typically depends on weather and speed prior to the closing of the season, it can be an especially dangerous time for workers. There can be a small window where weather cooperates with crop harvesting and thus workers can face increased pressure to work quickly and often under fatiguing conditions.
Farm workers face a variety of hazards from heavy equipment, outdoor conditions, and repetitive motions. Equipment safety is a significant area that must be diligently managed to prevent the risk of serious injury or death from farm equipment accidents. Heavy equipment such as combines, tractors, electrical tools, and moving vehicles all pose dangers and require safety practices that should be reinforced by employers. Exceeding recommended weight loads when carrying harvested products from one location to another can cause vehicle tipping and loss of control. Equipment accidents can range from fractures and hit-by-injuries to loss of limbs, head and spinal injuries, and crushing fatalities.
Working in agriculture also includes a high fall risk. Falls from moving vehicles or while climbing are a common occupational hazard in agriculture. Falls can cause a range of serious and fatal injuries as well. However, even an injury that seems relatively minor and time-limited can later cause chronic issues, such as musculoskeletal, back, and neck conditions.
Workers in the industry are not alone in being at-risk of an accident during harvest time. Those who are injured on the job are entitled to compensation for their medical costs and replacement of lost wages through the Workers’ Compensation program. It is important to report an injury to the employer and file a claim for benefits as soon as possible. This area of the law can be complex and those injured can face the prospect of battling both their employer and the insurance company if the claim is denied. It is therefore highly recommended to seek the counsel of a Workers’ Compensation lawyer with a strong record of experience fighting for those hurt on the job.
If you or a loved one was injured on the job, the Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Gross & Kenny, LLP have the knowledge and expertise to obtain the maximum compensation and benefits you deserve. For a free consultation regarding your case, please complete our online form or call us at 267-589-0090. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients across Pennsylvania.