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Minnesota farm workers face high risk of death

Farming has long been known to be a dangerous occupation. The use of heavy equipment and machinery along with sometimes long hours can put farm workers at risk for serious injuries due to an on-the-job accident. However, the risk associated with farming appears to be greater in Minnesota and other parts of the Midwest than in the rest of the country, especially on small and family-owned farms.

Between 2003 and 2013, more than 210 people died on Minnesota farms due to workplace accidents. Sadly, only six of those deaths were investigated by officials. The deaths in that decade represent a 30 spike over the number of fatalities in the previous 10 years. Over 66 percent of these fatalities happened in situations where federal safety regulations were not properly followed. Broken down equipment accounted for many of the deaths.

Part of the reason for the increase in farm workers’ deaths in Minnesota is attributed to many factors. First, farm equipment has become more powerful and therefore more dangerous. Simultaneously, programs designed to train workers and improve safety have been cut due to lack of federal or state funding. In 2014, OSHA was told by Congress to stop efforts on a program for reducing deaths in grain bins. At the same time, there are no regular inspections or visits by authorities to review a farm’s safety standing.

In the meantime, farmers in Minnesota continue to face grave dangers every day. People involved in a work accident on farms may want to consider talking to an attorney for help and compensation.

Source: Star Tribune, “Deadliest Workplace: The Farm,” Jeffrey Meitrodt, October 4, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

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