Does Your Agricultural Job Put You at Risk?
Agricultural workers are unsung heroes; they make vital contributions to the nation’s food supply while placing themselves at risk of harm every day. By nature, agricultural workers tend to be hardworking, dedicated individuals who might be more likely to continue on with their duties despite work-related injuries. Unfortunately, leaving an injury untreated may only make it worse. If you’re an agricultural worker and you’re hurt at work in the Watsonville or Salinas areas, you should know that you do have legal rights. Talk to a workers’ compensation attorney today.
Working the fields requires being outdoors for long hours, which places workers at risk of heat-related illnesses, especially if the worksite does not provide ongoing access to clean, drinkable water. This type of workplace injury may begin with heat cramps and quickly progress to heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is typically characterized by headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and lightheadedness. If steps aren’t taken to reduce the body’s temperature and get hydrated, the individual can go on to suffer from life-threatening heatstroke. Among other serious problems, heatstroke can cause seizures.
A responsible employer in the agricultural sector will have thoroughly trained each worker in the proper use of heavy machinery and he or she will insist upon strict safety protocols. However, some employers may cut corners in this area. Even if strict safety protocols are followed, workers are still at risk of machinery-related injuries such as severe lacerations, fractured bones, and traumatic amputation. An accident at work caused by the malfunctioning of heavy machinery may result in a permanent disability.
At low levels, many people believe that pesticides are reasonably safe. However, agricultural workers are not exposed to low levels of pesticides. Mixing, loading, and applying pesticides are all tasks that expose workers to very high levels of these toxic chemicals. Other workers can be exposed through direct contact with the crops. This exposure can have serious short-term and long-term health risks. Acute pesticide exposure can result in minor symptoms like dizziness, nausea, vomiting, eye irritation, rash, and headaches, and major problems like seizures, loss of consciousness, and death. Chronic effects may include cancer, birth defects, infertility, and neurological disorders.