As we move into warmer months in Missouri, farmers across the state are starting to put in longer hours of work, each day. However, an often overlooked aspect of farming is just how dangerous it can be. Out of all of the occupations in the United States, farming has one of the highest rates of injuries and fatalities. This makes farming a common source of workers’ compensation claims in western Missouri, St. Joseph, and Kansas City.
Dangers of Farming
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in America. In 2012 alone, 374 farm workers died from an injury suffered while on the job, resulting in a fatality rate of 20.0 workers per 100,000. This made jobs in agriculture more dangerous than those in mining or construction – a trend that has been consistent for an entire decade.
To make matters worse, many of the injuries and fatalities on farms in the U.S. happen to young farmhands. Many workers are the family members of the farm’s owner, including his or her children. Between 1995 and 2002, the CDC estimated that, on average, 113 people under 20 years old died every year in farm-related injuries. Another 14,000 youths were hurt on farms.
Despite these dangers, the United States is still one of the safest places to work on a farm. In some other countries of the world, farming deaths are twice as high as all other industries.
Workers’ Compensation for Farmers
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation is not always available for people who were hurt while on the job at a farm. Since 1976, one of the biggest governmental agencies responsible for workplace injuries, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), has not regulated farms that have 10 or fewer workers. Because most farm labor either comes from family members or immigrants – both of whom typically are paid under the table – this means that the vast majority of farms are not regulated for workplace safety hazards.
Perhaps even worse, Missouri does not require farms to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover injuries suffered by any temporary or seasonal workers that are actually on the official payroll. This makes it an uphill struggle for an injured farm worker to get the compensation they need to recover from a serious workplace injury.
St. Joseph Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
Workplace injuries can be life changing, regardless of what job you have. Just because it can be difficult to get workers’ compensation for an injury you suffered while working on a farm does not mean that you should not pursue a claim.
This is where the workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys at the Smith Law Office in St. Joseph can help. By working as your legal representative both in and out of court, we can ensure that you get the help you need to make a full recovery. Contact us online or call our law office at (816) 875-9373.