The agricultural industry is huge and critical to the well-being of the nation's economy. We have come a long way since the days of single-family farms on the open plains. Modern agricultural production is above anything that has ever been seen before in human history, and it has to be with the world population growing and more and more countries depending upon our exports for food. It's not easy to feed this many people, and it takes a dedicated workforce that puts in long hours and hard labor.
It also comes with risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls it one of "the most hazardous industries" in the United States. They note that the risks are high for both nonfatal and fatal injuries. This is an industry where lives and families are forever changed year in and year out.
Deadly cases in 2016
To see just how dangerous this, let's look at the numbers for 2016. That year, a total of 417 people in this industry died on the job. If you break that down, you get 21.4 fatal accidents for every 100,000 workers. That's a very high deadly accident rate and means that employees have to be well aware of the fact that they could lose their lives on the job.
The top cause of death that year was transportation incidents. These included car accidents, for instance, and cases in which tractors overturned.
Even if you manage to avoid getting caught up in a deadly accident, you could absolutely suffer serious injuries on the job. For instance, did you know that 100 workers in the agricultural industry get hurt badly enough that they miss time at work every single day? You can't overstate that frequency. Losing 100 workers to significant injuries daily shows that the field is wrought with risks.
Common injuries could include sprains, lacerations, broken bones, concussions, traumatic brain injuries, burn injuries and much more. On moderns farms, workers spend a lot of their time around heavy machinery. While that does mean they can get more done and be more productive -- a key due to the aforementioned increase in demand -- it also means they get exposed to many risks that farms just did not have for previous generations. When you couple that with a fast-paced work environment and high production demands, it's bound to lead to injuries.
If you get hurt on the job, you need to know your rights. That's true for farm workers and field workers all over California, whether they are U.S. citizens or not.