Agriculture is one of the most crucial industries in the country. In Texas alone, agricultural production is worth billions — with all of cattle, hay and other necessary production, the state is certainly a farming giant. Underneath all of this success, however, lies the workers that make this production possible. Few take the time to understand the difficulty of farming, but it is clear that the industry can be a dangerous one.
An ancient line of work, farming requires intense physical labor, grit, patience and dedication. Modern Farmer magazine is not the first to point out that, despite its massive role in the country, the farming industry is also the deadliest. The introduction of tractors is part of the reason this type of work has become significantly more hazardous. While modern technology has boosted the industry in most regards, it has also been the culprit of countless injuries and fatalities. Machinery such as hay balers have also been to blame. Yet tractor rollovers account for a large majority of farm injuries, as farmland generally contains rough terrain, on which farmers must pull heavy loads.
Unfortunately, tractor rollovers are not the only kind of danger farmers must watch out for. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration lists other types of nonfatal and fatal farming injuries:
- Hearing loss caused by noise
- Skin diseases
- Lung diseases
- Heat stroke
Farmers are also at risk for various types of cancer associated with prolonged sun exposure and chemical use while on the job. The dangers from this industry claimed the lives of 5,816 agricultural workers between 2003 and 2011, but OSHA stresses that many accidents are preventable. For instance, a large number of farmers have begun using updated technologies that prevent tractor rollovers. OSHA also encourages workers to drink plenty of water, rest in shady spots periodically and to wear lightly colored gear. There may always be certain risks associated with the farming industry, but at the end of the day, millions of workers put their lives on the line to put food on the table.