Since the development of mechanized farm equipment, the risk of injury for farmers and their families or paid laborers has skyrocketed exponentially. Although the dangers associated with farming are nothing new for lifelong farmers, the potential for liability is a new arena for many.
Although care is still essential when performing routine farm tasks apart from heavy machinery, probably the greatest danger of accidents on the farm is from automotive equipment, whether farm trucks, tractors or combines. More accidents happen on the farm by large machinery tipping over on sloped ground than any other reason. For this reason, Roll-Over Protective Structures, or “roll bars,” are installed on older machines that do not have cabs that could protect an operator in the event of a flipped machine.
In many cases, as the owner and operator of the equipment, the farmer is the one who bears the fatal consequences for his failure to install a roll bar. In some cases, however, when a hired worker is injured or killed, the owner of the machinery can be liable for the work injuries. Even worse, a child was allowed to ride and was killed as a result of the owner’s failure to provide safety features.
There are almost as many ways to be injured on a farm as there are types of farm equipment. Even though this is true, most farmers understand the dangers of operating tractors with no overhead protective structures. When a farmer knowingly allows others, especially children, to ride on unsafe equipment like tractors without roll bars, his potential for liability is understandably great.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Agricultual Safety“, December 08, 2014