With a lot of powerful machinery, heavy-duty vehicles and unpredictable livestock all sharing the same space, farms can be notoriously hazardous. Loud noises, falling objects and the use of toxic chemicals only add to the greater potential for injuries.
Statistics over the past few years have consistently placed farming and agriculture as one of the most dangerous industries in the UK.
Farms are not just dangerous to the people who work there but also to visitors who may sustain an injury because of somebody else’s negligence.
From a legal standpoint, farming accidents are not restricted only to those that are caused because of a direct action or inaction of a farmer, employer or proprietor. Other scenarios that can be included are the failure to provide and maintain a safe working environment, failure to provide adequate training or any other form of contributory negligence. Regardless of the direct cause, you may be entitled to claim for compensation if you are injured in a farming accident.
A Look At The Potential Hazards Of Working In This Industry
Some of the most common farming accidents include:
Farm machinery accidents:
Unguarded machinery that leaves parts such as blades, prongs or transmission belts exposed are the most common cause of injuries sustained by farm workers as well as visitors to the farm. Lack of training in using the machinery is another common factor.
Farm vehicle accidents:
Tractors, combine harvesters, fork-lift trucks, 4×4 vehicles and quad bikes are all commonly used on farms and can lead to accidents when they overturn or due to a collision with another vehicle or any other object. These types of accidents can cause a wide range of injuries from whiplash to loss of limbs.
Dangerous livestock and animal accidents:
Large farm animals can be unpredictable and this unpredictability makes them dangerous. About 8% of all farm-related deaths have been ascribed to dangerous livestock.
Injuries caused by falling objects:
Tall trees, piles of timber or towering bales of hay are a common sight on farms and they don’t look particularly dangerous. However if any of these objects have to fall, you could get trapped underneath and sustain grievous injuries.
Falling from height on a farm:
Farms have several elevated areas that can prove to be very dangerous. Falling through a fragile roof or from a tree or a ladder can result in severe back or head injuries. Height training and risk assessment are crucial to minimise the risk of falling from a height.
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Injuries caused by chemicals and other hazardous substances:
Pesticides and other toxic chemicals are routinely used on farms. These can cause serious illnesses or injury if handled incorrectly or carelessly. Farm buildings often have asbestos roofs and walls and when any repair or restructuring work is being done, there is the risk of exposure to potentially lethal asbestos dust.
Accidents associated with Silos, Slurry Stores or Pits:
Grain silos and slurry pits are extremely dangerous and can cause drowning or asphyxiation if anybody falls in by mistake. There are also the additional risks of getting dermatitis from exposure to contaminants stored in such facilities or inhaling toxic fumes leading to industrial asthma.
Hearing injury caused by high levels of noise:
Farm machinery and farm vehicles can make excessive noise when in use and this can cause loss of hearing or tinnitus if noise deadening measures are not put in place. The excessive noise should be monitored and reduced at source by local noise deadening measures.
Illnesses caused by vibrating farm tools:
Farm machinery and tools such as chainsaws can lead to vibratory injuries such as Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) if used incorrectly without proper training.
What You Should Do In Case Of A Farming Accident
If you have been seriously injured in a farming accident, the first thing you should do is call an ambulance and go to the nearest hospital for emergency care. Even if your injuries do not seem particularly serious, you should still report to the casualty or emergency department of the nearest hospital. This automatically creates a record of the injury you sustained and stands as proof that your injury required medical care.
You should also make sure that the details of the accident are recorded in the accident report book, which every farm is supposed to keep on the premises.
Your medical documents and a copy of the accident report in the farm record book can be used as crucial evidence to support your farming accident claim and will help your lawyer build a strong case in your favour. Both of these factors will also determine the amount of compensation you are awarded.