With bright sunshine, a mild climate and thousands of square miles of fertile land, California is known for its agricultural industry. Farming and food processing go hand in hand with the potential for devastating and sometimes fatal accidents, however.
Agriculture is one of the country’s most dangerous industries, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 100 employees in the farming industry across the country experience an injury every day that results in lost time from work. In 2016, 417 U.S. farm workers were killed in work-related accidents. Young people are not immune to the risk, as well; in fact, with many families working together on farms, youth are especially prone to being injured in farming-related accidents. About 12,000 minors were injured on U.S. farms in 2014.
A recent accident that occurred in Tulare County highlights the risks of the agriculture industry. According to the Fresno Bee, an employee of the country’s largest citrus grower, Wonderful Citrus, was killed when a 600-pound blade from a wind machine broke free from the machinery and fell on him. In 2016, Cal/OSHA officials cited the company for two accidents and one complaint. Officials are currently investigating the fatality.
Agricultural employers are responsible for maintaining safety standards to protect their workers, which includes providing adequate training and safety equipment. Injured workers may be entitled to workers’ compensation, in addition to their families receiving workers’ compensation benefits if a death or disabling injury results in the loss of a significant portion of the family’s income.