Labor-saving machinery on farms can put workers in danger

When people think of farms, tractors are usually one of the first images that come to mind … after lovable animals and red barns. Modern farm equipment is ubiquitous on commercial farms. Big machines get used to break up the soil, plant crops, spray pesticides, apply fertilizer and later harvest the crops. These machines may save a lot of physical labor, but they also pose great risk to workers. 

Farm equipment can run people over, trap them in spinning machinery, cut through flesh and bone or even tip over, pinning someone underneath. Young people and poorly paid migrant workers may be at increased risk for serious injuries from farm equipment. Inclement weather can also contribute to the potential for a serious farm machinery accident. Loss of limbs, broken bones, head and spinal injuries, and even death can result. 

It only takes a second for a tractor to tip 

Fields need to get tilled and planted at specific times to ensure proper growth of the crop. No matter the weather, workers will be out in the field. Deep mud can quickly pose a serious risk, trapping tires and bringing work to a standstill. Workers must then extricate the machine. Sometimes, this can result in a serious accident, especially with older tractors. 

Tractors are not very stable on soft ground. These machines weigh several thousand pounds. When one tips over, the potential for serious injury and death exists. 

Malfunctioning equipment poses a serious risk to workers 

This recent accident involving a piece of farm equipment is a perfect example of how time-saving machinery on a farm can quickly become a danger to workers. A man who was grinding hay to feed his cattle in March realized the machine was no longer working. He soon determined that there was a blockage in the machine, called a grinding tub feeder. He attempted to remove the blockage, only to get entangled in the machine, leading to his death. 

This man left behind a wife who was near the end of a pregnancy and several small children. The family will likely struggle to make ends meet without their primary earner. These kinds of accidents are often preventable, but remain tragic nonetheless. 

Workers deserve protection from farm machinery injuries 

Working on a farm is a rewarding, if dangerous and taxing, job. Farm workers face serious injuries in the line of work, and many times they may be covered by North Carolina workers' compensation. This could help ensure they have income after an injury, as well as payment of their medical bills. For cases that result in a death, survivors’ benefits may be available to the family of the deceased farm worker. 

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