The agricultural industry is an essential component of our nation's economy. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), it's responsible for over 10% of all full-time and part-time jobs. Agricultural workers, however, often have a higher rate of injury than their counterparts in other industries. By understanding the most common types of injuries in the agricultural industry, you can take the appropriate safety measures to prevent them.
Sprains and Strains
Many agricultural workers sustain sprains and sprains while working. Collectively, in fact, sprains and strains are the single most common type of injury in the agricultural industry. A study conducted by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that 22% of all injuries sustained by agricultural workers involve a sprain or strain.
In addition to sprains and strains, fractures are somewhat common among agricultural workers. The same study conducted by the NIOSH found that 15% of all injuries sustained by agricultural workers involve a fracture. Fracture, of course, is a broken bone. In the agricultural industry, workers may sustain fracture when using tractors or other heavy machinery.
Not surprisingly, lacerations rank as a common type of injury in the agricultural industry. According to NIOSH, lacerations are third-most common type of injury sustained by agricultural workers. In its study, NIOSH stated that 13% of all injuries in the agricultural industry involve a laceration. A laceration is a cut that breaks the skin. Because agricultural workers use sharp tools to cut plants, they tend to have a high risk of laceration.
How to Protect Against Injury in the Agricultural Industry
If you work in the agricultural industry, you might be wondering what steps you can take to lower your risk of injury. For starters, stretching can prove useful in protecting against injury. Most injuries involve sprains and strains, both of which are characterized by excessive physical stress. Stretching gives your body the opportunity to warm up so that it's less susceptible to sprains, strains and other stress-related injuries.
Wearing the right clothes can lower your risk of injury. Assuming it's hot outside, you should avoid wearing thick and heavy clothes. Instead, choose lightweight clothes that allow your body to breathe.
Of course, personal protective equipment (PPE) will lower your risk of injury. Wearing a pair of gloves, for instance, will protect your hands and fingers from lacerations. Boots can be considered PPE as well. They'll protect your feet from heavy objects that could otherwise cause fractures in your feet.