The Bureau of Labor Statistics conducted a study in 2008 revealing that agricultural works ranked as the fifth most dangerous job in the US with 39.5 fatalities for every 100,000 workers.

The fatality rate among ranchers and farm laborers is alarming considering that majority of jobs only have a fatality rate of 3.9 deaths for every 100,000 workers.

Aside from the high fatality rates, these workers have an increased chance of sustaining non-fatal injuries, heart diseases, chronic pain, certain types of cancer, and illnesses related to prolong exposure to pesticides and fertilizers.

In addition, farm laborers are vulnerable to accidents caused by faulty equipment due to the nature of their work.

Common Illnesses and Disabilities Affecting Farm Laborers

· Hearing loss
According to a study, a significant percent of farm workers have some level of hearing problem because they are exposed to loud noise coming from tractors and other farm equipment.

The study also revealed that noise-related hearing impairment is the third most common work-related impairment in the agricultural industry.

To make matters worse, the use of hearing protection is rare in the industry where there is culture that does not give importance to the health of its workers.

· Respiratory illnesses
Because farm workers are exposed to pesticides, fertilizers, chemicals, gasses, and organic dusts, they are vulnerable to respiratory illnesses.

· Heat stroke
Farm laborers are required to work in extreme environment and direct sun light which predisposes them to heat stroke. This is a serious problem in California where dozens of farm workers die from heat stroke every year.

Migrant Farm Laborers
According to a recent study, there are about 10 million migrant farm laborers in the country today. This is not surprising since most industrial countries like the US have always attracted immigrants who usually come from less developed countries.

Meanwhile, several health surveys show that migrant farm workers are significantly more prone to health problems related to work compared to the rest of the population.

There are several factors why migrant farm laborers are prone to work-related injuries. With this, the first to be blamed is the high illiteracy rate among these workers who only get health information through word-of-mouth.

And with high illiteracy rate, farm owners and employers can exploit workers and deprive them with a safe work environment and health benefits.

The language barrier also plays a role in the high injury and fatality rate among immigrant farm laborers as it prevents them to know information about healthcare and worker's rights.