According to National Agriculture Statistics Service reports, there are more than 2 million farms in the United States. Farms vary greatly in their size and characteristics, from small, family-run farms, part-time retirement farms, to large production facilities with million dollar sales. The family farm unit remains the dominant entity in agricultural production, especially in the southern United States. This diversity of farm types, as well as the unique work/residential environment, make understanding and preventing agricultural injuries a challenge. Agriculture is consistently one of the most hazardous industries, with farmers at increased risk for both fatal and nonfatal injuries.
In 2002 alone, 730 deaths and 150,000 disabling injuries occurred on U.S. farms. Each day, about 500 agricultural workers suffer lost-time injuries, 25 of which result in permanent impairment. In a 1995 survey of the agricultural production industry, nearly 200,000 nonfatal lost-time work injuries were reported to have occurred on U.S. farms. Farm operators and their family members accounted for most of the injuries reported.
Leading causes of farm-related deaths include machinery, motor vehicles, electrocution, environmental hazards and falling objects. Tractors are the leading cause of death in agriculture. In an average year, 110 American farm workers are crushed to death by tractor rollovers. Farming is one of the few industries in which families are also at increased risk. In particular, farm surveys indicate that the injury rate is highest among children age 15 and under and adults more than 65 year of age. Unlike other occupations, farmers routinely work beyond the average retirement age.8 Data from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reveals that farmers aged 75 and older are more than twice as likely to die on the job than their younger counterparts. Agerelated conditions, such as arthritis, vision or hearing problems make farming potentially more dangerous for senior farmers.
If you are a farm worker who is injured on an Illinois farm, it is important that you have an attorney review the facts to determine what your legal rights are. Claims can vary from worker's compensation, to negligence, or claims for product liability against the manufacturer of farm equipment. Call us today for a free consultation if you have been hurt on an Illinois farm.