Migrant farm workers, in the United States, suffer morbidity and mortality at much higher rates than the rest of the population. This is mainly due to a combination of hazardous working conditions, the lack of regulations, limited access to health care coverage and services, and poverty. Statistics continue to show that agriculture is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. In 2013 there were 23.2 on the job deaths per 100,000 workers as compared to the overall industry standard of 3.3 deaths per 100,000 workers.
In California, the harvest season is rapidly approaching and with that many migrant farm workers will be returning to the agriculture industry for seasonal work. Inevitably, many of these workers will suffer a spectrum of occupational illnesses and injuries including sun and heat exposure, exposure to chemicals and pesticides, falls, lacerations, trauma, and strains. Some will even be permanently disabled from on the job accidents.
Migrant Hispanic workers are statistically more likely than others to be victims of a fatal occupational injuries. Recent data shows an increase in work injuries resulting in death involving Hispanic or Latino migrant farm workers. Migrant farm workers are also the least likely to seek medical attention when they do experience a work related injury. This is due to the fact that many employers of migrant farm workers do not carry workers’ compensation insurance.
Workers’ compensation is an insurance-based program run by the state that covers employees from the first minute of their employment for on-the-job injuries, which can range from the minor to the extremely serious, including death. California law states that farm workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Even if the employer or labor contractor does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, those who have been injured on the job may seek benefits from the Uninsured Employers Trust Fund.
If you are a migrant farm worker and have been injured on the job you should definitely seek medical attention and then consult with a workers’ compensation attorney who will be able to provide you answers to your questions and assist you in accessing the workers’ compensation that you may be entitled to. Call the migrant farm workers compensation attorneys at Robbins, Strunk & Cramer at 408-763-8336 to discuss your on the on the job injury and workers’ compensation benefits.