Farming is an incredibly dangerous job, and farmers are at high risk for both fatal and nonfatal injuries. Common causes of these injuries include defective farm equipment, missing product labels, falls from farm structures, and improper training. However, another type of injury on farms comes from a surprising source: explosions and fires.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), explosions (21%) and fires (39%) are responsible for a relatively high rate of injuries on farms. So, when it comes to preventing farming accidents, farmers and agricultural workers must take these injuries into consideration.
Four Common Causes of Farming Explosions and Burns
Farmers work with stored crops, chemicals, mechanical equipment, and ignition sources on a daily basis, so they are always at risk of burns from fires and explosions. The following cause of explosions and burns are most common.
1. Poorly ventilated grain bins
The dust in grain bins is extremely flammable. When they are improperly ventilated, that dangerous dust builds up to the point that any ignition source—a stray cigarette, spark from a metal object, or heat from farm equipment, for example—could cause an explosion.
Negligence on the part of workers or owners, improper safety procedures, or defective grain equipment can all contribute to the poor ventilation and dust build-up that proceeds grain bin explosions.
2. Misuse of ignition sources or equipment
Accidents in the handling, use, and storage of flammable fuels such as gasoline, propane, and diesel can result in serious fires or explosions. If these ignition sources are left unattended or placed in close proximity to hot machine parts, cutting torches, or other hot items, disaster can strike.
Additionally, the improper use of farming equipment can damage underground natural gas lines, leading to explosions. Similarly, overloaded extension cords can spark fires.
3. Contact with hazardous chemicals
Dangerous chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, and anhydrous ammonia are often used in agriculture work, and many of these chemicals are flammable, leading to explosions when they interact with an ignition source. Exposure to hazardous chemicals can also cause severe burns to the skin, eyes, nose, and throat.
4. Mechanical or electrical failure
Farm machinery that is defective, old, or improperly maintained can overheat and ignite crops, barns, or flammable materials. Electrical shorts in equipment can cause a fire, as well.
What to Do After a Farming Burn Injury
Victims suffering from major burn injuries usually require extensive hospital stays and may even need rehabilitation or reconstruction treatment. The damages from burn injuries can quickly add up, and if your injuries were due to someone else’s negligence, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice.
Veritas can support you if business in respect of this work, a bespoke appraisal of the risk issues, the required actions and liaison with other interested parties. Find out more about our Dsear reporting.