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Workers' compensation has the back of injured farmworkers

Colorado's agriculture industry contributes billions of dollars to the economy of the state. However, consumers of Colorado cantaloupes, peaches, sweet corn and red meat may not realize the toll it takes to provide these products to the market. Fortunately, the workers' compensation insurance system covers most farm workers who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses.

Safety authorities say every operation on a farm poses unique risks, and comprehensive safety training is the key to keep workers safe. Those who work with animals risk hazards such as being thrown off horses and kicked by cattle. They also have to move about in heat or rain and snow and work in animal waste and dirt. They have to lift heavy objects like drums filled with chemicals, hay bales and young calves, risking musculoskeletal disorders.

Those who work with heavy equipment face potentially catastrophic injuries if there should be malfunctions or accidents. Grain workers face the hazards of engulfment in grain bins or explosions caused by grain dust, and crop farm workers face a different set of risks. They are exposed to the heat of the sun, hazardous chemicals and insecticides along with various types of dangerous equipment.

Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides safety guidelines and regulations for Colorado farms with more than 10 employees, safety violations are prevalent. Language problems can complicate issues for some injured workers who seek financial assistance to cover medical expenses and lost wages. Fortunately, help is available from an experienced workers' compensation attorney who can navigate the complicated process of claiming benefits.

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