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Four Dead in Three Months in Farm Accidents

By Jason Bottlinger on May 28, 2019

A recent spate of farm accidents has killed four and injured two people in Nebraska. Unfortunately, farm worker injuries and fatalities are not uncommon. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the U.S.

If you have been hurt or lost a loved one in a farm accident caused by someone else’s negligence, contact Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 505-8234 to speak with a dedicated Omaha personal injury lawyer. We are tough advocates for injured farmworkers.

Recent Deaths and Injuries in Nebraska

In a recent three-month period, farm incidents killed four men and injured two more. (These are only the injuries that were reported. In all likelihood, more unreported injuries occurred.) These serious accidents occurred when farm workers were:

  • Cutting down a tree
  • Working in a grain bin
  • Thrown from a tractor
  • Thrown from an ATV
  • Electrocuted
  • Attacked by a bull

Facts About Farm Worker Injuries and Fatalities

As reported by the CDC:

  • Approximately 2,050,000 full-time workers were employed in production agriculture in the U.S. in a recent year.
  • Every day in the U.S., approximately 100 farm workers are injured seriously enough to cause lost time from work.
  • 417 farmers and workers died from work-related injuries in a recent year.
  • The fatality rate was 21.4 deaths per 100,000 workers.
  • Tractor overturns and other transportation incidents are the leading cause of farm worker deaths.
  • Use of Roll-Over Protective Structures (ROPS) with a seat belt is the most effective way to protect farm workers from tractor overturn deaths.

Common Hazards for Farm Workers

Farmers and agricultural workers can be seriously injured in a number of different ways. The following are some common hazards these workers face on a daily basis.

Grain Bins

Workers should never enter a grain bin unless it is absolutely necessary. If they have to go in, they should be on a harness and lifeline, with another person manning the lifeline, and someone else on the ground communicating with both of them. Corn, soybeans, and other grains can mold as a result of moisture migration to the top of the bin. The grain at the top can stick together, forming a barrier while the grain below is being taken out of the bin. A worker entering a bin can fall through and be quickly suffocated in grain, even if it is flowing.

Falls from bins are another cause of serious injury and death among farm workers. Ladders on the sides of the bins must be fitted with proper cages for safe working conditions. Getting caught in sweep augers used to clean bins is another cause of farm worker injury.

Tractor Rollovers

Tractor rollovers are the number one cause of fatalities in farm work. Many older tractors are lacking protective structures. When combined with holes, rough conditions, and other factors, the risk of a rollover is high, often leading to serious or fatal injuries.

Other Causes of Injury

Farm workers can be injured in a variety of ways, including:

  • Working with horses, cattle, or other animals
  • Stacking or loading hay
  • Using ATVs
  • Working with power take-off shafts, belts, pulleys, and other moving parts

Common Injuries in Farm Accidents

Farm workers hurt on the job can suffer a range of serious or fatal injuries, including:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI): Falls from ladders and other accidents can cause concussions and serious brain trauma. A TBI can have long-term effects on a victim, including difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly, sleep problems, personality changes, depression and anxiety, and a higher risk for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and other brain-related disorders.
  • Amputations: Agricultural accidents are a leading cause of amputations. These incidents happen when fingers, hands, arms, ears, toes, or legs get caught in equipment or machinery.
  • Crush injuries and fractured bones: When an object or animal pins, traps, or a jams a body part, it can cause serious crush injuries. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, these injuries may involve broken bones and damage to the skin, muscles, organs, and nerves.

Who Is Liable for Farm Worker Injuries and Fatalities?

If you work on a farm in Nebraska, you may not be covered by workers’ compensation. Only the farms and agricultural operations that employ more than 10 full-time workers for more than 13 weeks throughout the year are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage. Many smaller operations are exempted from the requirement to carry workers’ comp.

When a farm worker is injured by negligence, the landowner may be liable. You may be entitled to pursue compensation for your losses, including past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Call Bottlinger Law L.L.C. Today for Assistance

If you’ve been injured in an agricultural accident, the Omaha agricultural injury attorney at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. can get you the compensation you deserve. Call (402) 505-8234 for a free case evaluation.

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