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California farmers and others at risk for work-related deaths

Whenever studies are done to determine what types of work are the most dangerous in California and throughout the nation, farming always ranks high on the list. In addition to work\-related deaths in the construction and manufacturing industries, farmers often face tremendous risks when operating heavy machinery and carrying out various tasks in the fields. A recent tragedy occurred in another state that took the life of a farmer who had not yet reached age 30.

A hazard not many non-farmers are aware of in this type of work is manure gases. Both sulfur-oxide and methane can reach dangerous levels, causing serious adverse affects, including death. The National Agriculture Safety Database advises farmers to make sure manure tanks are properly ventilated. Farmers are also advised to keep warning signs posted in conspicuous locations.

The 29-year-old man who recently died (along with more than 10 of his cows) was working in a manure tank when a deadly cloud of gaseous fumes formed in the air above him. Analysts say this was likely caused by heavy atmospheric pressure that prevented the fumes from dissipating. Some say accidents like this are a sign that stricter regulations are needed to prevent future tragedies.

Work-related deaths in California often leave communities grief-stricken. Local farmers often know one another, and when a worker gets injured or succumbs to a fatal accident on the job, it affects the entire industry. When a fatal farm accident victim is an employee whose family depended on that income to survive, the gravity of the situation is even more intense. Many widows and other immediate family members have been able to get benefits through workers' compensation with the help of experienced attorneys who know how to navigate the system.

Source: americanow.com, "Farmer And 13 Cows Found Dead", Brendan Kelly, March 6, 2017

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