The most accident-prone industries in the Sunshine State
When you think of Florida, you generally don’t think industry in terms of things that would cause accidents. But Florida is known for far more than its booming tourism industry (which, of course, is its number-one commodity).
Farming and agriculture
For instance, Florida is deep into the agricultural industry. The growing of citrus fruits makes up the bulk of its agriculture, as the state grows oranges, tangerines and grapefruits, as well as celery, strawberries, tomatoes and sugarcane. This creates jobs in the farming, picking, packing, transporting and delivering of all these foods.
Farmers have dangerous jobs. It is actually categorized as one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, mainly because of the equipment used – combines, tractors and other slow-moving pieces of machinery that take pieces of your clothing or your limbs and do not let them go. Once they ensnare you, there is little to no chance of escape.
Additionally, this is one of few industries in which family members are also at risk of fatal or nonfatal injuries, simply because they live on the premises.
Among the injuries that family members can sustain are physical injuries from equipment, pesticide exposure, amputation, pulmonary disease, stress, hearing loss, disc herniations, and musculoskeletal disorders. Tractor overturns are still the leading cause of death on farms. However, many die because of motor vehicle accidents or drowning (such as in agricultural waste, for example).
Florida also has ties in the construction industry, as so much tourism means that people need places to stay. You’ll need a bed to sleep in after you watch Tinkerbell fly out of Cinderella’s castle! This means that more hotels, motels, condominiums and resorts must be built. We must make more places for all the people who want to see Tinkerbell.
Construction can also lead to a lot of accidents. Here are some of the most common types:
- Slip and falls
- Getting caught by or in between objects
- Getting hit by falling objects
- Falls from a height
- Fires and explosions
- Machinery incidents
Florida also works in the manufacturing industry, adding value to unprocessed products and turning things like citrus fruit into juice or cotton into clothes.
This sounds innocent, but then you start thinking about what “unprocessed products” means. Here are just a few issues that pop up around manufacturing jobs:
- Chemical exposure: This could be from cleaning agents, leaking battery acid or mixing compounds. Make sure to wear protective gear at all times and keep items clearly labeled.
- Falls: This is one of the “Fatal Four” labeled by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as the most common industrial fatalities. Extra care should be taken to ensure that this does not occur, as 545 workers die each year as a result of these four fatalities.
- Non-employees: Who needs someone in a workplace who isn’t supposed to be there? It’s a liability. Don’t touch anything!
- Fires: These can spring up quickly and without warning from welding, running machinery, working closely with electrical wires and soldering. Fire extinguishers should be regularly inspected and kept close by.
- Machinery: Don’t rush through instructions, don’t cut corners and always use guards. Keep your limbs on you, where you want them!
What if I get hurt on the job?
If you get hurt while working in Florida, you will most likely deal with the workers’ compensation system. This ensures that you get some sort of coverage while you are recuperating. However, by accepting those benefits, you can’t sue your employer unless there was an intentional injury by that employer.
You could, however, sue an independent third party for injuries you sustained while working (for instance, if you used a defective product that caused you harm).
If the worst happens and a worker dies while on the job, his or her family can bring a wrongful death suit against the employer. However, because Florida follows the Exclusive Remedy rule, if the family has already been adequately paid under the workers’ compensation policy, then they cannot be paid again by the court.
An industrial or construction accident can change your life in an instant. If you need an attorney and you’re not sure where to begin, visit our Florida law firm directory!