Even though safety advocates have named this week “Farm Safety Week,” you likely understand the importance of taking safety measures every day on the job. It is not easy for these advocates to reach an accurate count of how many people suffer injuries in farm-related accidents since no system exists for collecting this information. However, based on news stories and other outlets, researchers believe the number is higher than 50 so far this year.

Working in the California agricultural industry is physically challenging, and you likely feel the aches and pains of your labors at the end of most days. However, it may only take a split second for a farm accident to change your life forever.

Unprotected equipment

Depending on the job you do each day, you may face many risks and dangers. The most common cause of agricultural accidents, however, is equipment. Operating a tractor on uneven terrain may result in a rollover, which can mean devastating injuries. You may know farmers who lost their lives or limbs from unguarded power take-off shafts, augers and other moving machinery parts.

You may worry with good cause when you have to take your tractor or other machinery on the road among other vehicles. Traffic accidents involving farm equipment make up about half of fatal farm accidents. Other drivers may become impatient with your slow-moving machine, or they may fail to see you as they come upon you from behind, resulting in a collision that could mean serious or fatal injuries.

Unpredictable animals

If your job on a farm involves being around livestock, you know how important it is to remain alert and take nothing for granted. The most docile animal is still an animal, and it is impossible to know what may frighten or threaten a cow, horse, bull or other creature. Numerous farmers suffer injuries from livestock each year.

Where to turn for help

If you become hurt or lose a loved one in an agricultural accident, you may face an uncertain future. Medical bills, lost wages and possibly funeral expenses can create a hardship for any family. Fortunately, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance offers benefits to cover those expenses and potentially others.

Even if you do not anticipate having trouble obtaining those benefits, you would be wise to reach out for legal assistance at any time after your accident. A skilled attorney will have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the complex process and work to protect your rights.