Agricultural Equipment Poses Safety Risks for Mississippi Farmers

Agricultural Equipment Poses Safety Risks for Mississippi FarmersFarming is one of the toughest—and dangerous—jobs in the United States. Working on a farm requires long hours, lots of manual labor, and operating heavy machinery. When those three things are combined, it can become a recipe for disaster.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mentions that more than 120,000 farmers sustain tragic work-related injuries with more than 700 of them succumbing to their injuries every year. Considering the type of equipment with which farmers work, it is no wonder that so many injuries are severe or fatal.

Recent Mississippi farm accident highlights the dangers

In the agricultural field, there are two types of augers: a more traditional auger that drills deep holes into the soil, and a grain auger that feeds grain to a large grain bin for storage or from the bin to a truck for transportation. The grain auger is portable and can be moved relatively easily from bin-to-bin. While these both seem like relatively uncomplicated machines that may not be all too dangerous since the operator is out of the way, they still can do harm.

In fact, a Mississippi man was killed just a few months ago in a tragic grain bin accident. He was attempting to clear a blockage in an unloading auger when he somehow became trapped within the grain. Emergency crews were called and attempted to rescue the 75-year-old man, but it was too late by the time they were able to get him out. It may not seem like getting trapped underneath something as light as grain is a big deal, but it is much heavier than one may realize.

Grain bins and silos can hold anywhere from 200 to 800 tons of grain. And with the way that it is stored, it is very easy to get sucked deep within it as well. This can cause people to be crushed or suffocated.

This was not the first or last time anything like this happened, either. Just a couple weeks ago, three other Mississippi agricultural workers fell into a grain bin where they were attempting to perform repairs. Two of them were rescued and airlifted to the nearest hospital, but a 20-year-old worker unfortunately died in the accident.

Types of equipment used in farming

Those who work on farms and in fields often operate all different types of equipment and heavy machinery. While workers can sometimes use this equipment with little-to-no training, there are some that require proper safety training. Without it, mistakes can happen which can also lead to very serious injuries. Some examples of equipment for farm use are:

  • Tractors – used for getting around vast land quickly.
  • Harvesters – used for collecting crops grown on the land.
  • Plows – used for breaking the soil down in preparation for sowing seeds.
  • Harrow – used for quickly breaking up crop residue and removing weeds.
  • Seeder – used for dropping seeds within the soil at precise distances.
  • Auger – used for either drilling holes in the ground or feeding grain into storage.

Common causes of other farming injuries

Unfortunately, augers and grain bins are not the only causes of farming accidents. There are many ways workers can get hurt while on the job. For example:

  • Overturned tractors – If workers take a turn too quickly or sharp, the vehicle can overturn and either fall on top of the driver and/or passenger or throw them from the vehicle, resulting in injuries like broken bones or traumatic brain injuries.
  • Structure falls – There are buildings, like barns, sheds, chicken coops, and silos on a farm. If any of these structures are in poor condition, they could collapse and injure a worker in the process.
  • Machine entanglements – With so much heavy equipment being used, the likelihood of this happening is high. Machines like tractors, harvesters, and plows all have gears within and underneath them that can malfunction. If this happens, some workers take it upon themselves to try and remove any debris. If they fail to follow proper safety precautions, this can lead to limbs getting trapped within the machine and possibly causing accidental amputations.
  • Falls from height – Working high up in areas like silos poses a risk for falling. If the proper gear is not worn and precautions are not in place to avoid slipping, big falls can lead to serious head injuries and sometimes even death.

If any of these accidents happen and cause you any type of injury, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. Generally speaking, farm work is exempt from workers’ compensation in Mississippi, so this may be your only option for recovery.

What if I’m not a farm employee?

If you are NOT a farm employee, then you could be eligible for workers’ compensation. For example, if the farm or ag company hired your company to do some drilling, and your company offers workers’ compensation, then yes – you can make a claim. If you work in sales, processing, or production, you may be able to make a claim as well. Note that workers’ compensation only covers lost wages and medical expenses.

If you were injured by an auger at work or were involved in another type of workplace accident, then it is your right to seek compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and financial loss. Make sure to talk to an experienced Mississippi injury attorney to help you fight for the benefits you deserve.

If you have suffered an agricultural injury in Mississippi, let the personal injury attorneys at Merkel & Cocke, P.A., examine your case. Call our office at 662-627-9641, or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We operate offices in Jackson, Clarksdale, Greenville and Oxford to better serve you.