Farming is among the most hazardous industries in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, each year thousands of farm workers are injured and hundreds die in farming accidents.
Farming machinery, particularly tractors, are the cause of most farming accidents. The leading cause of the tractor accidents occur when the tractor overturns.
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Many farmers use augers to collect and move grain. Augers have a spiral screw inside an outer tube, which pushes the grain from the lower end to the top end. Augers are usually powered by electric motors. When they are in operation, augers can present serious risks to the operator and others in there path. According to the National Agricultural Safety Database, most auger accidents occur when:
- The auger comes into contact with or becomes entangled in the exposed crew at the intake;
- There is an entanglement in a belt drive;
- Someone or something is struck by an uncontrolled spinning crank;
- Something becomes entangled in a PTO drive shaft;
- The raised upper end comes into contact with overhead high power lines.
- The most common auger injuries are lacerations, fractures and amputations.
Front End Loader
A front-end loader is used to lift and move large, heavy farming objects and machinery.
The addition of a front-end loader to a tractor is the primary cause of many tractor rollovers.
Another common accident occurs when round hay bales roll down the arm of the loader onto the operator. Large hay bales can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds. That is equivalent to a car falling on top of you. These front-end loader accidents frequently cause paralysis or death.
Manufacturers have an obligation to ensure front-end loaders are equipped with protection against falling objects.
Skid Steer Loader
Skid steer loaders are useful to haul a variety of materials that need to fit into hard-to-reach places.
Although the machine is small in size, skid steer loader accidents have been known to cause serious injury and death. This is particularly true because the controls are very unpredictable.
During a skid steer loader accident, an operator can be hit or crushed by the bucket, crushed in a rollover accident, run over, or pinned between the lift arm and the frame.
Although safety devices can prevent many of these accidents, they are often overlooked by manufacturers in order to cut costs.
Corn Picker Accidents
A corn picker is a machine used in harvesting that is pulled by a tractor and separates the ear of corn from the stalk.
Corn pickers have many moving parts and require regular maintenance. They often malfunction and pose dangers to the operators and other workers.
The most common injuries caused by corn pickers are finger and hand amputation.
Hay Baler Accidents
A hay baler packs and ties the hay into bundles (bales) for ease with handling and shipping.
Hay baler accidents are the cause of approximately half of the reported machine-related injuries on farms. This is according to the National Safety Council.
The most common hay baler accidents include:
- being pulled into the machine when attempting to thread the baler,
- being trapped by moving parts,
- being entangled by improperly guarded power take off shafts, and
- falling from the tractor and being run over by the hay bailer.
Manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure hay balers are to prevent contact with any dangerous parts while in motion. When proper safety devices are in place, many potential farming accidents can be avoided.
Tractor accidents continue to be the main cause of injuries and death in the farming industry. Approximately 52% of all tractor accidents involve tractor rollovers.
Although manufacturers are aware of the risk of tractor rollovers, implementing necessary safety measures has been a slow process. Many tractors lack rollover bars that protect a driver in the event of a tractor rollover.