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Dangerous workplaces affect Massachusetts residents

A recent investigation involving farming accidents has drawn attention to the fact that there are many dangerous workplaces across the nation. Some may not realize that certain industries can be just as dangerous as or even more so than the construction industry. Safety programs are in place to try and improve these dangerous workplaces, but statistics show that 557 workers were killed nationwide in agricultural accidents in a single year. That statistic included other workplace deaths such as forestry and fishing accidents, all of which can affect Massachusetts residents.

Workers under the age of 20 make up more than one million of the total farm and ranch workers in the United States. While deaths rates have decreased by 40 percent between 1992 and 2011, the need for regulations still exists. Eighty-five percent of agricultural workplaces do not have to comply with current OSHA regulations. Federal agencies aren't even allowed to collect information regarding injuries or illnesses in such workplaces even though agricultural jobs have statistically proven to have the highest death rate.

Dangerous workplaces can affect all citizens from workers to consumers. While the workers' safety is obviously a huge concern, citizens can be affected by price inflation on products produced at workplaces. Citizens may also see an increase in their own insurance policy because insurance companies are paying numerous claims for workplace accidents.

Employees who feel unsafe in their working environments may benefit from looking into possible changes that can be made. An employee that has already been involved in a workplace accident may be best-served to look into Massachusetts state laws to further determine their rights and the best way to proceed to cover any lost wages or payment for pain and suffering. Dangerous workplaces are a serious issue for workers, which is one reason that workers' compensation insurance exists: to help cover the medical and other related expenses that employees suffer after a work injury.

Source: The Bismarck Tribune, "Working to improve farm safety," Jessica Holdman, April 7, 2013

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