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Workplace injury -- 77 percent of agricultural cases not reported

Agricultural workplace injuries and illnesses are much more prevalent than what government statistics suggest. A workplace injury is something that both employers and employees should always take serious. A recent study has shown that the governmental agencies in charge of tracking workplace injuries are off by about 77 percent. According to the researcher, there are a number of reasons why there is such a big discrepancy between the number of reported injuries and the number of actual injuries suffered by agricultural workers in Tennessee and all across the country.

The researcher attributes the difference between the reported workplace injuries and actual injuries to institutional causes and behavioral causes. One of the institutional causes is the fact that the focus of the government is on medium and large farms. These farms only represent about 50 percent of agricultural workers in the United States. Another institutional cause is the problem of keeping track of injuries suffered by part-time and seasonal agricultural workers.

Behavioral causes make up the other portion of the unreported incidences. A potential reason that many farmers fail to report all workplace injuries could be to keep the premiums they pay towards workers’ compensation insurance as low as possible. It is believed that some agricultural workers be unaware that their injuries should be reported or they may be scared that by reporting injuries they could risk losing their jobs.

When one considers that approximately 74 percent of injuries on crop farms and approximately 82 percent of injuries on animal farms are possibly going unreported, it is clear that the agriculture environment is one of the most harmful places to work. Workplace injuries can often be life-changing and can lead to an inability to work. A worker in Tennessee who has suffered a workplace injury may be entitled to file for workers’ compensation benefits. Damages awarded in a successful workers’ compensation claim may assist the injured worker in dealing with many of his or her unfortunate expenses, such as medical and rehabilitation costs, as well as loss of income.

Source: agweb.com, "A Shocking Statistic on Farm Injuries", Ben Potter, May 30, 2014

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