A young farmer from Lanark County was killed in late June 2015, after being injured by farm equipment while employed on a dairy farm. Farming accidents are an unfortunately significant risk of agricultural work and particularly, in the handling of farming equipment. According to the Workplace Safety & Prevention Services of Ontario, an average of 264 critical injuries requiring hospitalization occur every year on farms, as well as an average of 25 deaths. In fact, agriculture has for many years been listed as one of the most dangerous occupations in North America.
There are many different types of farming equipment all with their own risks, including the chisel plow, seed drill, conveyor, tractor, combine, row planter and manure spreader. While there are differences in the mechanisms, there are common parts which may cause injury, including cutting edges, gears, chains, rotating blades, revolving shafts and levers. The innovation of faster and larger farm equipment has also led to an increasing number of accidents in the past few decades.
According to the Ministry of Labour, in association with The Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines for Farming Operations in Ontario, the common risks associated with agricultural equipment include:
Entanglement – As noted above, entanglement often involves the handler of a farm equipment accidentally getting their clothes entangled in a part of the equipment, which forces their body or a body part, into the machine.
Overturns/Crashes – Much farming equipment is driven, such as tractors and mowers, and there is always a high risk of the driver losing control of the machine and it overturning or crashing. In fact, tractor rollover on slippery or uneven, and sloped terrain is the most common cause of farming injuries.
Slip and Fall – There is always a risk of workers slipping and falling while handling equipment, particularly in difficult weather, as their work is often outdoors. Falls also include equipment that may not have been parked or stowed away properly, falling over and hitting an individual.
Farming equipment accidents are a very serious problem that can lead to many serious to catastrophic injuries, as well as death. As a result, it is imperative that farm owners and workers who handle farm equipment take all necessary precautions to avoid these incidents. Recommended safety measures include:
Knowledge and Understanding – Any individual handling farm equipment must be well trained in its operation, proper use and potential risks.
Avoid Improper Shutdown of Equipment – A very common indirect cause of farm equipment accidents is the improper shutting down of machinery. When a machine is improperly shut down, it may unexpectedly start up again and result in horrible damage the operator or innocent victims.
Wear Proper Attire – If an equipment requires gloves or protective headgear, etc. then those should be worn at all times, every time the equipment is being used and handled.
Keep Children and Untrained Individuals Away from Equipment – Having children or untrained individuals near farming equipment is not only a danger and risk to them but to others as well, especially if they touch or move something they shouldn’t.
Replace Or Fix Any Damaged Equipment Parts – Like any machine, farming equipment needs to be serviced and surveyed constantly to ensure all parts are working as they should. Failure to do this can result in many more accidents.
If you were injured in a farming accident, seek medical attention as soon as possible to determine the extent of your injuries, and also to receive appropriate treatment and thus prevent a deterioration in your condition. Also, the medical reports by health professionals are important documents providing evidence of your injuries in a claim for compensation.
If your accident resulted from faulty equipment or equipment breakdown, then your injuries may be eligible for a product liability claim, and a personal injury attorney can help you to get compensation for injuries that were suffered. A personal injury attorney can also ensure that you receive full compensation for any insurance accident disability benefits to which you are entitled.
If owner negligence was a factor in the injuries suffered while you were working or visiting a farm, accident victims may be eligible to seek damages from the person responsible and their insurer. Consultation with an experienced personal attorney can advise you of your rights in this regard. It may be that you were a visitor to a farm where you were injured in a slip and fall, in which case injuries arising out of such accidents are eligible for personal injury compensation.
Certainly, farming equipment accidents are a serious issue that can have severe consequences, including catastrophic injuries and death. Farm accident victims who experience a loss of limbs, spinal injury, brain injury or paralysis suffer permanent impairment in their ability to function and will be in need of compensation for the many expenses associated with medical treatment and income loss. The aftermath of these incidents is emotionally and psychologically draining on the victim, as well as their loved ones.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a farming equipment accident, please do not hesitate to contact the Personal Injury Lawyers of Ontario (ILO) office serving Lanark. Our compassionate and highly skilled group of attorneys are available to advise you on your best course of action. If your accident is eligible for a personal injury claim, we will help you with every step of this process to ensure that you receive all the benefits to which you are entitled.
Call or visit ILO for a free consultation, where you will be given an honest and frank assessment of your best legal options. Let us help ease your mind during an emotionally difficult and trying time.