Each day, agricultural workers in New York and across the U.S. face danger as they earn their livelihoods. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the farming industry suffers a fatality rate of 23.2 deaths per 100,000 workers. In 2013, 500 farmers lost their lives on the job.
In order to promote safety for U.S. farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers, the National Safety Council recognizes the third week in September as National Farm Safety and Health Week each year. President Franklin D. Roosevelt began the tradition in 1944. The promotion coincides with the annual harvest season, which is the most hazardous time of year for farm workers. This year’s theme is “Ag safety is not just a slogan, it’s a lifestyle.”
To mark the occasion, the White House released a proclamation: “To protect the safety of those working on America’s farms, we must take steps to guarantee they have the knowledge, tools and resources necessary to mitigate and reduce risks to themselves and their families.” The statement went on to list dangers common to agricultural work, including hazardous chemicals, dangerous machinery and potentially deadly work areas, such as grain elevators and silos. It said the farming industry must pursue “pragmatic, responsible solutions” to prevent tragic accidents.
New York farm workers who are injured on the job may be eligible to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits cover medical expenses and a portion of a worker’s salary as they recover from an injury. It may be beneficial to obtain the assistance of an attorney when preparing a workers’ compensation claim to ensure all required documentation is included and that it is filed on a timely basis.