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5 common health risks agricultural workers face

On Behalf of | May 24, 2024 | Workplace Risks

Agriculture and its related industries employ many people in the U.S. Unfortunately, agricultural workers are at high risk of work-related injuries and deaths, even though a high percentage of them go unreported.

The following are five examples of health risks workers in agriculture face on a regular basis.


Agricultural workers who handle animals are susceptible to infectious diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans (zoonotic diseases). These include rabies, anthrax, brucellosis, tuberculosis and so on. Humans can contract these illnesses by direct contact with infected animals or indirectly by eating or drinking animal products. Zoonotic diseases can also be transmitted through vectors. For example, when a tick or mosquito carrying an infectious pathogen from an animal bites a worker.

Injuries from machinery

Farming operations involve different machinery that can cause injuries. For example, many injuries caused by overturning tractors have been reported. Hand tools like knives and hammers can also cause injuries. A farmworker not adequately trained on how to use such tools or provided with the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) can be severely injured.

Pesticide exposure

The active ingredients in pesticides can be harmful to humans. Pesticides are external irritants – a worker may experience skin irritation and redness, among other allergic symptoms, upon exposure. They may also experience pesticide poisoning, particularly after prolonged exposure. In this case, the pesticide will affect their body organs and systems.

Slips and falls

Agricultural settings can be easily wet and soiled if not properly maintained, increasing the risks of slips. Besides, farmworkers use ladders for tasks. Thus, they are at high risk of falls as well.

Loud noises

Many farming activities result in loud noises. Overexposure to loud noises can lead to hearing loss.

If you are an agricultural worker who has sustained a work-related injury, learn more about your rights and the options available to you so that you can pursue any and all compensation you are eligible for.