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Tractors and Hearing Loss

Hearing loss

Studies conducted by the United States National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health have shown that workplaces with farm tractor operators have a high risk of hearing impairment. On average, the risk jumped to 37.9 percent for users of medium-power tractors and 13 percent for high-power tractors. For most farmers, the hearing loss is gradual and may not be noticed until deterioration is serious. Unfortunately, hearing loss is permanent and irreversible.

Protect Yourself From Hearing Loss

There are some things you can do to help reduce the physical damage and associated hearing loss tractors and other farm equipment can cause.

  • Consciously reduce your sound levels

When buying new equipment, try to opt for the machine that operates at the quietest level.

  • Perform regular maintenance

Fix mufflers, lubricate bearings, replace worn parts. All these actions will reduce noise pollution and has the additional benefit of helping your equipment run better.

  • Use Protective Equipment

Mark areas that are subject to high decibel levels with clear signs indicating them as such. Provide earmuffs or expandable ear plugs for all who enter the area. Make sure you are using the equipment correctly for the maximum amount of protection.

  • Limit Daily Exposure

Part of the reason protective equipment is so important is because of acceptable sound levels that can reduce hearing loss. For example, information from the 2012 Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) reports unprotected ears can only stand short instances of intense sound.

For example, without ear protection, people should be exposed to the decibel level of a tractor for only 4 minutes per day. Hearing loss could result from 15 minutes of squealing pigs or a table saw, 9 minutes of a riding lawnmower or pressure washer and less than one minute for a chainsaw.

Help Isn’t Far Away

When struggling with personal injuries, remember that Maison Law Firm has experience and a history of successful cases behind us. We can put that skill to work for you. Call us today to get a free consultation, at 559-203-3333. It’s a free consultation. There is no obligation, and you owe nothing unless we win!

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Pulmonary Disease and Farm Workers

Pulmonary Disease

Working in agriculture creates conditions ripe to cause higher rates of pulmonary disease in farm workers. Lung issues, including asthma and lung cancer, are possibilities. Higher-than-usual amounts of dusts, vapors and fumes are contributing factors. Additionally, particles associated with livestock, grains and pesticides create conditions that deteriorate the lungs. These types of dust particles have chemicals, but they also pose organic dangers, like bacteria and mold, that could get inhaled into your delicate respiratory system.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that work-related respiratory disease makes up about 70 percent of all occupationally-related deaths.

Farmer’s Lung

One lung condition, in particular, is closely associated with agriculture. That is the disease known as Farmer’s Lung. This pulmonary disease is usually brought about by breathing in moldy hay particles. Breathing in dust from hay, corn, grass, feed, grain and tobacco cause inflammation in your lungs, making it hard to drawn in air. Once contracted, it is a permanent condition. It cannot be reversed, so taking care to prevent further stages are necessary. Making sure the materials handled are dry, that there is adequate ventilation and that a mask is always used can help prevent infection.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Farm workers have higher rates of lung diseases than the general public. COPD is caused by chronic irritation in the airways. It’s associated with breathing difficulty, cough, mucus production and wheezing. You may experience chest tightness, lack of energy, or blueness of the lips and nail beds. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis contribute to COPD. It is a condition that needs to be controlled to maintain a good quality of life.

We’re on Your Side

Fighting an irreversible disease can take its toll. Maison Law Firm can help you get the compensation you deserve. Don’t allow an insurance company to offer less compensation while your medical bills mount higher and higher. Get compensated for your medical bills, loss of wages and more. Our team has worked in virtually every type of personal injury case and have the experience needed to fight for you. We offer transportation for your convenience, or we can come to you.

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Youth in Agriculture: Preventing Injuries

Youth in Agriculture

It might not be a topic everyone is talking about, but that doesn’t make the injuries less of a problem. In fact, youth in agriculture, whether they are living, working or visiting an agricultural environment – mainly farms – is such a big issue the National Committee for Childhood Agricultural Injury Prevention (NCCAIP) was formed in 1992.

National Action Plan

A plan was implemented in 1996 that promoted research, education, leadership, surveillance and public policy to help curb the problem of injuries to youth in agricultural settings. Even with a national plan, the numbers are high. They are so high, in fact, the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety reports that a child died once every three days in 2016.

Youth in Agriculture

There are dangers present, in an agricultural environment, we may not recognize right away. That’s why it’s important to be educated and prepared. Here are some tips to prevent injuries:

  • Dress for the occasion

There are gears, pulleys and sharp edges on some equipment. It’s best to avoid loose-fitting clothing that can get caught or ripped. Keep cuffs buttoned and shirts tucked. Keep long hair under a cap.

  • Stay calm in an emergency

Take emergency preparedness courses, in case something goes wrong. Everyone should know how to administer CPR and have basic first-aid skills. Make sure everyone knows how to call for help in an emergency and that fire/police/EMT personnel have access to information they may need, like what is in each building or where chemicals are stored.

  • Stay in communication

It’s important to have a check-in time. If a check-in time is missed, someone should follow up to make sure everything is OK. Additionally, you should communicate to someone when you are mounting or dismounting equipment, as a precaution.

Help Is Waiting

It only takes a moment for a life to change forever. At Maison Law Firm, we understand the struggles personal injuries can create, and we want to help. If there’s been an agriculture-related accident, come see us in one of our 3 offices in Visalia, Bakersfield and Fresno.

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Common Tractor Accidents

tractor accidents

They’re a crucial piece of equipment on every farm, but is a tractor really safe? The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports tractor accidents are the number one cause of deaths and severe injuries on farms, with the majority of incidents falling into a few common categories.

Overturns: The Leading Tractor Accidents

According to the National Agricultural Tractor Safety Initiative, overturns contribute to more than half of all tractor-related deaths, at an annual rate of approximately 130 fatalities. Rollover protection systems, or ROPS, could prevent many of these deaths, but they estimate 50 percent of the 4.8 million tractors in the country do not have them installed. The problem is so serious, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have even developed programs to help increase ROPS-adoption rates across the country.

Tractor Runovers and Entanglements

Every year, about 60 tractor operators are run over by their own vehicles or attached equipment after falling from the cab of a moving tractor. Even more tragically, about 90 percent of all deaths resulting from a passenger falling from a tractor and being subsequently run over are children under the age of 15. Many of these accidents could also be prevented with ROPS and seatbelt usage.

Entanglements are also relatively common, either in power take-off (PTO) drivelines or attached machines. Many of these can be prevented by shielding moving parts, but few owners keep the shields attached and in good working order.

Traffic Collisions

The National Agricultural Tractor Safety Initiative also reports collisions as a major cause of tractor accidents resulting in fatalities, either with trains or automobiles, concluding that a tendency of drivers on rural roads to exceed speed limits and exhibit impatience to pass farm equipment often contribute to traffic accidents involving tractors. In such cases, tractor operators are often powerless to prevent the collision.

Managing the Aftermath of Tractor Accidents

Because accidents involving tractors so often cause traumatic bodily injury and can have such devastating consequences, they can be difficult to navigate. When you or a loved one are injured in a tractor accident, getting the necessary treatment is the first and most important task. The next should be securing legal representation, whether you think you’re at fault for the accident or not. The way many tractors are designed make them inherently dangerous, and, sometimes, every safety precaution just isn’t enough. If there’s a chance you could be entitled to compensation, it’s important to at least get the opinion of an experienced attorney.

Don’t let mounting bills make a difficult time even more complicated when you might be able to recover some of your expenses. At the Maison Law Firm, Martin Gasparian understands the unique needs of agricultural workers and their families impacted by tractor accidents. Call us today to schedule a consultation.

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Farm Truck Accidents

Farm Truck Accidents

Although a vast majority of farm truck accidents occur in Midwestern states, where agriculture is simply a way of life, California is not immune to them. In fact, Southern California has many farms, both large and small, that require the use of public roads by farm equipment. Crashes involving both farm trucks and motor vehicles are happening more frequently, and it’s important to know the why and where of it as well as what is contributing to the increase.

Why Farm Truck Accidents Are Frequent

There are many contributing factors to the rise in accidents involving passenger vehicles and farm trucks. The biggest reason is farm trucks are now much bigger than they used to be. Farms do this to maximize efficiency, but it can be hazardous to other motor vehicles.

More traffic and higher speeds on rural roads are two additional factors. As more and more people are moving out of the bigger cities of the greater LA area and into smaller, quieter neighborhoods like those in the Central Valley, two-lane roads now see much more traffic. This will increase the likelihood of being involved in a farm truck accident. Due to the increase in population, these two-lane roads are also being upgraded, and many speed limits are being raised. Higher speeds result in a greater likelihood you will be involved in an accident, no matter the vehicle type.

Where Farm Truck Accidents are Occurring

You might think Southern California farm truck accidents are only common in rural areas. A study of midwestern states concluded that nearly 30 percent of these types of accidents are in more populated areas. It’s reasonable to assume that in Southern California, where even rural areas have greater populations, this number may be higher.

There are certain road conditions and travel areas that are likely to see an increase in farm truck accidents, including curvy roads, roads that are narrow, areas with higher speed limits or traffic rates, and roads that lead to and from the farms and the markets.

Types of Injuries

While the possible injuries sustained rely mostly on the type of farm equipment and type of motor vehicle, some types of injuries are more common than others. Many farm truck accidents are rear end collisions, due to the slow travel of the farm truck. While these may not be the fault of the truck driver, they result in the most fatalities.

More common accidents can result in everything from minor scrapes and bruises to broken bones, life-threatening concussions and immediate death. As you can see, there is a broad range of possible injuries.

Legal Representation

The areas of Fresno, Visalia, Bakersfield and Glendale see their fair share of farm truck accidents. If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a farm truck, it’s important to seek legal representation, so you can get the medical treatment you need as well as maintain your standard of living. The Maison Law Firm may be able to help you receive compensation for your injuries. Martin Gasparian is one of the most experienced personal injury lawyers in the Central Valley. You deserve the best.

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The Unsafe 3-D Jobs of Migrant Workers

3-D Jobs

Jobs known as “3-D” have pros and cons. The biggest con is high numbers of migrant workers are exploited each year in many areas of the county, and Southern California in particular. But what are migrant workers and what are 3-D jobs?

What are 3-D jobs?

Most commonly, a 3-Job is one that is Dirty, Dangerous and Demeaning. This can be anything from picking fruit in an apple orchard to scrubbing floors in a butchery. Whatever type of job it is, there are several official definitions.

The International Organization for Migration states publicly that migrant workers’ rights aren’t negotiable. Migrant workers can be separated into two categories: economic migrants and labor migrants. Someone who travels to invest in local infrastructure, or to do work that is typically performed in another state is known as an economic migrant. Those who move frequently to find labor, whether skilled or unskilled, are considered labor migrants.

The International Labor Union considers migrant workers those who travel to a new country to seek employment. This includes those who enter a country illegally to obtain employment.

The United Nations focuses on those who cross borders illegally – those who are undocumented – to obtain employment as migrant workers, despite skills as a laborer or even education and economic status.

Regional Factors Regarding Migrant Workers

Many areas where there are high numbers of migrant workers, 3-D jobs are offered. These locales often have higher numbers of both legal and illegal immigrants as well as high rates of unemployment and poverty. Poverty and unemployment typically force laborers to turn to 3-D jobs just to make ends meet, regardless of ethnicity. These factors can force migrant workers across borders for work, in order to financially support their families. They can force someone who has been laid off or can’t find work that matches their skillset into these dirty, dangerous and demeaning jobs.

Exploitation

Unfortunately, many labor migrants are exploited by those who employ them. Being a part of the underserved population usually makes you more susceptible to exploitation. 3-D jobs make this even more likely as employers aren’t reporting any information about job conditions, work-related injuries, average pay, etc. This leads some, but not all, migrant workers to end up with very little pay for physically demanding work in unsafe conditions. Due to being stuck in this rut of migrant labor, they may feel it would be difficult to find representation, which is something these employers count on.

Southern California Migrant Worker Statistics

The University of California at Davis found, through a 2016 study, that nearly 60 percent­­ of men who were born in Mexico and now work in agriculture in California are undocumented and have no legal right to work in the US. The numbers of migrant workers in California, especially Southern California, vary greatly throughout the year, due to the seasonal nature of agriculture, which leads to migrant workers often moving elsewhere, during slow times, to find work. In 2016, January saw a low of 344,000 migrant laborers, while there was a peak of 471,000 in August, which is the height of the growing season.

If you are one of the migrant workers in Southern California who is being exploited, whether in the agriculture industry or elsewhere, it’s time to find representation. Call Martin Gasparian at the Maison Law Firm. We have offices in Visalia, Bakersfield, Glendale and Fresno. We are ready to help you not only find compensation for yourself but help prevent future exploitation of migrant workers with 3-D jobs.