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How agricultural safety numbers may impact California workers

In 2012, 374 farmers were killed while on the job, which translates to a fatality rate of 20.2 per 100,000 workers. Many of the deaths were caused by tractors turning over. To prevent such deaths, it is recommended that all tractors be fitted with a Roll-Over Protective Structure (ROPS). As of 2012, 59 percent of all tractors had this system, but that number could increase to 80 percent if all tractors made since the 1960s were fitted with such a system.

Between the years of 1995 and 2002, an average of 113 people under the age of 20 died while doing farm work. A majority of those deaths involved youths between the ages of 16 and 19. Leading causes of death among those under 20 included the use of motor vehicles such as ATVs and drowning. Tractors were also a leading cause of death among young people working or living on a farm.

In 2012, statistics indicate that 14,000 people under the age of 20 were injured on a farm with 2,700 of those injuries directly related to farm work. Overall, 167 farm workers suffered injuries each day that required them to miss time at work. Roughly five percent of those injuries caused a worker to suffer from a permanent impairment.

Those who suffer an injury while on the job may be eligible for workers compensation benefits. Injured workers may wish to work with an attorney who may be able to help a worker obtain compensation for medical bills and missed work. Disability benefits are typically awarded to employees to compensate them until they are able to return to work. If a worker passes away due to a workplace injury, death benefits may be available to help the worker's family.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Agricultual Safety", December 08, 2014

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