Employees in the agriculture industry face multiple risks every day. Farm owners and managers in Colorado have an endless list of hazards to address if they want to avoid having to deal with the consequences of injured workers. The heat of summer and the cold of winter pose severe risks, and many farm accidents involve falls from ladders and elevated work areas. Agricultural operations in both crop farming and animal production often cause musculoskeletal injuries because workers frequently work in awkward body postures and make repetitive motions.
Further hazards are posed by cutting tools, such as hoes and knives, and machinery and equipment without the necessary safeguards can cause severe injuries. Farm workers who work in fields or other areas that are a distance away from a fresh water supply will not have handwashing facilities and toilets. Along with it being unsanitary, they also face the risk of exposure to insecticides and other substances that cannot be washed off their hands.
Exposure to pesticides, manure pits, silos and other respiratory hazards can cause long-term illness if personal protective equipment such as respirators or face masks are not provided. Chemical exposure can cause skin disorders, and then there is the threat of animal-acquired infections along with other hazards such as excessive noise. Confined spaces and electrical hazards can also be added to the list of dangers faced by farm workers.
Victims of agricultural accidents or illnesses can claim workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages. However, not all injured farm workers are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, and those who work on smaller farms might have to pursue other avenues to obtain financial assistance. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney who is familiar with the Colorado laws that deal with farmworkers can explain the options and assist with the applicable procedures based on the status of the injured workers.