Updated June 16, 2022

How Common Are Farming Accidents and Injuries?

The United States—and the world—relies on the agricultural industry to sustain life. Crops like wheat, potatoes, grapes, oranges, etc., provide the fruits, veggies, and grains on our plates. The dairy industry fills our cups and cereal bowls, and the meat industry helps keep us full. All of our farmers are to thank for keeping our grocery aisles, bars, restaurants, and pantries stocked with food. 

In fact, Indiana is one of the nation’s top 10 agriculture-producing states. We have a lot to offer our communities, state, and the world when it comes to farming and agriculture. Farming is obviously no small task, and it comes with risks too. 

Heavy machinery, pesticides, and manual labor can cause farming accidents, leading to immediate and/or long-term consequences. If you are a farmer who has experienced an agricultural accident, our experienced attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham are here to represent you. You deserve justice for the suffering you have endured. 

The Agriculture Industry

Agriculture—the farming of crops or animals—is one of the largest industries in the world. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 10.3% of total U.S. employment was part of the agriculture and food industries in 2020; that’s 19.7 million jobs.

Unfortunately, farming is also one of the deadliest and most hazardous professions in the world. Globally, agriculture ranks alongside construction and mining as the most dangerous industry.

What Are Some Farming Accident Statistics?

The National Agricultural Safety Database collects data about the United States agricultural industry; and the International Labour Organization performs similar research across multiple industries worldwide. Recent statistics concerning farming accidents include the following:

  • Globally, at least 170,000 agriculture workers are fatally injured every year.
  • Nationally, 60 to 70 per 100,000 farmers are killed annually.
  • Nonfatal injuries occur to about 33% of the farming population in the United States, with 3% of accidents resulting in a permanent disability.

Total Farming Accident Fatalities and Injuries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides figures on injuries, illnesses, and deaths in crop production, animal production, and agriculture as a whole. For the following statistics, this is the number of people who suffered per 100,000 full-time workers. This means that the many part-time workers employed in farming are not even included in these statistics. 

  • 2019: 410 people
  • 2018: 411 people
  • 2017: 415 people
  • 2016: 412 people 
  • 2015: 401 people

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH):

  • 410 agriculture workers died on the job or from an agriculture-related injury in 2019. 
  • For every 100,000 workers, there are 19.4 deaths.
  • The leading cause of death was transportation accidents, like trailers overturning.

What Are Some Dangers of the Farming Industry?

Fatal and nonfatal farming injuries, which occur most often during the summer harvesting months of June, July, and August, can be caused by several different factors. Common causes of farming accidents include defective farming equipment, missing product labels or equipment warnings, farm structure or equipment fails, and improper training.

Most agriculture work is physically demanding, raising the risk of accidents. Additionally, farming is one of the few lines of work where living and employment conditions are mixed; in addition to agriculture workers, family members living on the farm are at risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries.

Other Types of Farm Accidents

Types of farm accidents, including injuries and illnesses, include:

  • Pesticide exposure
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Hearing loss
  • Stress
  • Broken bones
  • Fractures
  • Cuts and scrapes from tractor injuries
  • Skin conditions from chemical burns or sun exposure
  • Eye irritation
  • Exhaustion
  • Heat stroke 
  • Electrocution
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Respiratory disease
  • Cancer 

Fortunately, most farming accidents can be prevented. Check out our blog that provides tips to help prevent a farming accident. If you have experienced any of these, contact your WKW agriculture industry accident lawyer today. 

For more detail on the types of injuries that result from dangers on the farm, read our common farming injuries page. 

Types of Accidents on Farms

Below, you’ll find additional details about the different types of accidents on farms that occur most frequently in the agriculture industry. If you or a loved one have experienced any of the following while working on—or because of work on—a farm, talk to your farm accident attorney at WKW. We have in-depth experience working on farm accident cases and can help you get the justice you deserve.

Tractor and Equipment Accidents

No matter the farm you are on, you are most likely to see heavy machinery out in the field or stored in the barn. Whether it be a tractor, plow, or other type of farm equipment, these machines are heavy and can cause major harm. It is typical for these pieces of heavy farming equipment to require training in order to operate them correctly. 

Due to their weight and cost, it’s not unusual to find rented and multi-generational equipment operating on farms. This can lead to safety concerns, especially if a machine is not up to standard code. 

In addition to machinery and maintenance concerns, many farm accidents happen because of  equipment falling on the users or surrounding workers. These massive machines can cause broken brokes, internal bleeding, and even fatalities. That’s why it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible following a farming accident. 

For more information on farming equipment accidents, read our page on farming equipment injuries here.

Chemical Exposure

It’s no secret that bugs, animals, and pests are unwanted in crops. They can ruin an entire season for a farmer. Because it’s so important to keep the plants growing and healthy, pesticides are commonly used on crops. 

To note, pesticides are not good for you to eat, but by the time food makes it to your plate, it’s usually safe. However, the farmers who handle the pesticides have much more exposure to these chemicals. 

Chemical exposure can occur on the skin during harvesting or in the respiratory system when the chemicals stay in the air after the crops are sprayed. This exposure to chemicals can lead to long-term health issues and even disfiguration if exposure is severe enough. 

Amputations 

Heavy equipment can do major damage from the aforementioned situations. They can also lead to amputations. Amputations may happen post-accident—performed by a medical professional—or by the machine itself. The most common amputations are to fingers, hands, and arms because of the manual work done with machines.

Injuries from Animals and Livestock

Working with livestock or around other farm animals, such as dogs, cats, pigs, or chickens, can also lead to farming accidents. Common accidents that can happen from livestock and other animals include:

  • Kicks
  • Bites
  • Stepping and trampling 

Livestock often weigh a massive amount, meaning even seemingly small actions can have a large impact. A back kick from a startled horse can result in broken bones and internal bleeding. 

Other injuries that can occur because of animals are:

  • Organ damage
  • Traumatic brain injuries 
  • Lacerations
  • Bacterial infections from bites

Bacterial infections need to be taken care of right away, or else sepsis may occur. Sepsis happens when bacteria gets into the bloodstream, which can be dangerous if not treated right away. Get medical treatment immediately after an animal injury. And call your agriculture industry accident attorney if you have been injured due to an animal injury or accident on a farm. 

Suffocation 

Suffocation can happen in the agriculture industry, particularly on grain farms. Anywhere grain is stored, such as a grain bin or silo, can have micrograins in the air, which can make breathing difficult and cause suffocation. Additionally, an extremely dangerous and scary occurrence is suffocation and death inside of grain silos. 

Heat and Burn Accidents

Whether they be from UV sun rays or flammable objects, burns are one of many dangers on the farm. Flammable objects include gasoline in farming equipment, gasses from manure, and even grain storage. If these items come into contact with flame, the people around during ignition have the potential to get burned. And heavy sun exposure from hours spent working in the fields can lead to short- or long-term skin conditions.

Burns are life-altering and can lead to major pain and permanent disfigurement. If you have experienced burns, these could even lead to longer lasting issues, such as loss of sensation and impacts on your mental health.

Contact a Farming Accident Attorney Today

If you have been injured as a result of a farming accident, we urge you to contact the Indianapolis farming accident attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. Our lawyers can help you with the next steps in pursuing a farming accident case. 

Call 317.576.3859 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

Interested in learning more? Read WKW’s farming accident blog posts here.

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