Agricultural workers provide pivotal services throughout North Carolina. Working on a farm – or in another agricultural setting – takes hard work that results in the production of food products the rest of us depend upon.
Unfortunately, working in agriculture also comes with a number of risks, leading to regular accidents and injuries. You can explore the top seven most common injuries for agricultural workers in North Carolina with this article and our team at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC.
In This Article
Common Agricultural Industry Injuries
#1: Heat Stress
The temperatures throughout North Carolina can climb quickly and last all day long. Agricultural workers generally spend most of the workday outside, exposing them to the heat, which may become a concern if they do not take frequent breaks to cool down and lack sufficient water.
Workers exposed to continually high levels of heat may experience heat exhaustion. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heat exhaustion often causes:
- Heavy sweating
- Dizziness and weakness
Getting out of the heat can help mitigate this issue.
#2: Musculoskeletal Injuries
Agricultural work often requires individuals to engage in heavy manual labor, including carrying heavy things, lifting, bending, and pushing. These repetitive motions can cause musculoskeletal injuries over time, including torn ligaments and muscle strains.
#3: Broken Bones
Agricultural workers may end up breaking bones in the course of their work. These injuries often result from more serious accidents, such as incidents involving large farm equipment or vehicles. For example, workers may break a bone as a result of a tractor overturn accident.
These accidents generally require immediate care. Workers may break bones in their limbs or torso. Some serious accidents even result in damage to the spine, which could result in paralysis in some situations.
Suffocation often does not spring immediately to mind when thinking of agricultural accidents in North Carolina. However, it remains a serious risk for workers who spend time in or around grain bins and silos.
Stepping wrong onto the grain can cause it to shift. Workers may sink into the grain as it moves, as it acts much like quicksand. Workers sink quickly and become unable to breathe through the grain, leading to suffocation.
Many farms and other agricultural businesses use herbicides and pesticides in order to limit the destruction caused by pests. Unfortunately, improper exposure to these chemicals can poison agricultural workers.
Workers should always take care if they:
- Work in a field after a chemical spray
- Use water from an irrigation canal on the farm
- Eat fruits or vegetables directly from the field
Depending upon the kind of pesticides used, these chemicals may also blow across the field. Inhaling the chemical may lead to long term illnesses, including respiratory issues.
Serious accidents involving farm machinery may lead to the loss of an arm or a leg. Older equipment – or improperly maintained equipment – may lack safety features to prevent these injuries.
Farm workers sometimes get their clothing trapped in moving parts of the machinery. Machinery can then pull them in, often causing severe injuries before other people have a chance to turn off the equipment.
You may want to reach out to a workers’ comp lawyer in North Carolina if you sustained any of these serious injuries while working on a farm.
#7: Injuries Caused by Animals
Many agricultural workers end up caring for large animals as part of their job. Large animals can prove very dangerous to people. Workers may experience:
- Head or brain injuries after a kick from a cow or horse
- Broken bones or organ damage if animals trample them
- Lacerations and infections from a dog, pig, or other animal bite
These injuries generally require immediate medical care.
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What Are Some of the Most Significant Dangers for Agricultural Workers?
Agricultural workers in North Carolina face exposure to numerous dangers every day on the job. Some dangers are obvious, including the risks posed by working with large equipment and large animals.
Other risks include the exposure to hazardous materials and poor working conditions caused by the weather outside. Dangerous levels of heat as well as storms can all put a worker’s health at risk.
Even normal job tasks may eventually lead to injuries for agricultural workers. Performing the same actions again and again may lead to long-term injuries.
The time to act is now! You have two years from the time of the injury to pursue legal action per G.S. § 1-52. After that, it may be difficult to get your case through the justice system.
Speak to Us After an Agricultural Accident
You can learn more about the top seven injuries for agricultural workers in North Carolina with our team at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC. Complete our online contact form to find out how a member of our team could help you seek compensation after this kind of accident.