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Agricultural Workers Are at High Risk for Injury

Agricultural workers are at high risk for injury

Iowa is known as a great state for agriculture. Whether involved in crop production or animal production, thousands of farmers, farm families and farm workers provide food to and for America. It is their way of life and many give little or no consideration to the fact that agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, farmers and their families and workers are at very high risk for both fatal and nonfatal accidents.

Nationwide, approximately 2,088,000 men, women and youth were employed full time in agriculture in 2015. In addition, between 1.4 to 2.1 million people are hired each year to work on crop farms. Around 893,000 youth under the age of 20 lived on farms in 2014, and over half of them performed farm work. An additional 266,000 youth were hired to work on farms.

Agricultural fatalities and injuries

The CDC reports that in 2015, 401 farmers and farm workers died from injuries related to their work, which translates to a fatality rate of 19.2 deaths per 100,000 workers. Over one quarter of these deaths were of youth under the age of 20. On average, 113 youth die each year from farm injuries, with over one-third of these deaths occurring to teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19.

Transportation injuries, including tractor turnovers, are one of the major causes of agriculture deaths and injuries. Despite the fact that the most effective way to prevent injuries and deaths caused by tractor turnovers is to use a Roll-Over Protective Structure, only 59 percent of farm tractors were equipped with an ROPS in 2012.

Iowa statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that of the 60 Iowa deaths in 2015 attributable to work-related accidents, 16 were in the agricultural sector which includes private agriculture, fishing, hunting and forestry. In terms of specific occupations, management jobs accounted for 14 Iowa deaths, all of whom were farmers, ranchers or other agricultural managers.