Workers on farms in Connecticut may be at risk of serious workplace injuries and accidents. Farm work often involves large, complex machinery that can pose a significant risk of an acute injury. However, other types of injuries can develop over time due to repetitive exposure to certain types of physical stress. According to a study funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, many operators of farm machinery experienced vibrations that reached a limit set by the European Union for exposure in only two hours of operation. This is particularly concerning for workers operating these vehicles daily.
These results applied to almost 30 percent of the farm machinery tested, including combines, tractors, forklifts and all-terrain vehicles. Fifty-five farm workers participated in the University of Iowa study where sensors were attached to the seats and floors of the equipment. These sensors allowed scientists to assess the level of protection provided by the seats. Over half of the pieces of equipment met the action level, a term referring to the point at which workers face a greater risk of health problems, within eight hours.
Whole-body vibration can be a significant cause of back pain, a common occupational injury among workers in agriculture. Chronic or severe back pain can lead to major medical costs and an inability to continue working in the industry. Overall, combines were the least likely to produce worrisome amounts of vibration while tractors and heavy utility vehicles produced harsher vibrations. Researchers said that high-quality seat suspension and maintenance can help to protect workers.
Workers who are suffering from back pain or other injuries on the job may consult with a workers' compensation attorney. A lawyer may review their case and help to determine the potential to seek compensation for injured workers' damages, including medical bills and lost wages.