By Gina Ekstam for AssuredPartners
Fall harvest can be one of agriculture’s busiest and most dangerous times of the year. National Farm Safety and Health Week is observed the third week of September to promote safety throughout the ag industry.
While agriculture, forestry, and fishing make up one of the largest industry sectors in the U.S., most operations are small, with nearly 78 percent employing fewer than ten workers and most relying on family members and/or immigrant, part-time, contract, and seasonal labor. Many workers in these small operations are excluded from labor protections, including many of those enforced by OSHA.
In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 573 fatal work injuries in the Ag, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting sector. This represents the highest fatal occupational injury at 23.1 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. Workers are also at high risk for nonfatal injury/illness, with a rate of 5.2 per 100 FTEs, compared to the all-worker rate of 2.8 per 100 FTEs.
During the fall harvest, the urgency to get a lot of work done in a small amount of time can lead to serious accidents and damage. Taking the time to prepare, plan, and observe can help manage operations, assets, and risks.
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