Farming And Agricultural Worker Injuries
Many areas around Pompano Beach and throughout South Florida employ farm workers and other agricultural workers. There are a wide range of crops that are grown and harvested in South Florida, which require various kinds of workers. According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), Florida has more than 47,000 farms and ranches, and there are nearly 10 million acres in the state that are used to grow and harvest food products. The most common crops in the state include tomatoes, oranges, bell peppers, grapefruits, watermelons, strawberries, sweet corn, peanuts, and sugarcane. Those crops require thousands of workers who can be exposed to a range of injury risks on the job.
What should you know about farming and agricultural work in South Florida in relation to workplace injuries? Consider some of the following information from our Pompano Beach workers’ compensation lawyers.
Injury Rates Are High Among Farm and Agriculture Workers
Did you know that farming and agricultural work can be extremely dangerous, and tens of thousands of workers require treatment in emergency departments each year for injuries they sustained on the job? According to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the “Agricultural sector is . . . the most dangerous in America with 573 fatalities, or an equivalent of 23.1 deaths per 100,000 workers.” Indeed, between January 2015 and December 2019, more than 62,000 agricultural workers sustained severe injuries on the job that require treatment in emergency departments. Injuries occurred on both small and large farms, and more than one-third of those workers were young adult males.
What are some of the most common causes of serious workplace injuries among farming and agricultural workers? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cites the following as the most frequently cited causes of injuries in the agricultural sector:
- Transportation-related accidents, including accidents involving tractors;
- Contact with objects and farming equipment;
- Violence caused by other people or contact with animals;
- Slips, trips, and falls; and
- Exposure to hazardous substances.
Agricultural workers can also sustain repetitive motion injuries due to the nature of their farming work, as well as traumatic injuries affecting the back, neck, or various muscles and tendons.
How Farmers and Agricultural Workers Can Seek Compensation
What steps should a worker take after a farming or agricultural injury in order to obtain financial compensation? First, it is essential to report the injury to the employer within 30 days from the date of the injury in order to be eligible for workers’ compensation. Florida law also requires injured employees seeking workers’ compensation benefits to obtain medical care from an approved provider.
It is also important to know that coverage requirements for workers’ compensation are different in the agricultural industry than in other industries in Florida. According to the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation, while construction employers must have workers’ compensation coverage if they have even one employee and other industries must have coverage if they have four or more workers, the agricultural industry has different coverage requirements. In the agricultural industry, an employer must have coverage if they have 6 regular employees or 12 seasonal workers.
Contact a Pompano Beach Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Do you need assistance with a workers’ compensation claim? One of our experienced Pompano Beach workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld, P.A. can help you to seek compensation after a work injury.