Employing a workforce on a farm requires care and attention. If farm operators don’t protect their employees, they could subject these workers to physical injury or illness. This could impact the employee’s ability to work. If a farm worker cannot work, their livelihood could be at stake.
Therefore, it becomes imperative that farm operators carry appropriate workers’ compensation insurance. These policies can protect both farm employees and the employer.
Workers’ Compensation for Farms
State law requires most businesses, including farms, to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation provides funds to employees who cannot work due to a job-related illness or injury. Workers’ comp might cover their lost wages, medical bills and everyday needs while they recover.
The employer often has to provide workers’ compensation regardless of whether they were at fault in the incident. Therefore, failing to carry workers’ comp insurance is often against the law. If they don’t have coverage, the employer may still have to pay compensation directly out of pocket.
Covering Farm Workers
Like other industries, farms have different classifications of employees. Workers’ compensation law often covers each level of these employees differently.
- Permanent employees usually have coverage under workers’ compensation laws.
- Temporary employees may or may not have coverage depending on their status of employment. Seasonal employees hired directly by the farm may have to have the same coverage as permanent employees. Other temp contractors might come on loan from employment agencies. These workers’ often still qualify for workers’ compensation. However, they might receive coverage from their temp agency, rather than from the farm.
- Migrant workers often do not qualify for coverage under any workers’ compensation laws.
Talk to your insurance agent when buying workers’ comp coverage. The agent can guide a farm operator to determine which classification of employee needs workers’ compensation coverage.
Protecting Workers from Injury Risks
Operating a farm often involves considerable manpower and physical labor. The sensitivity of machinery and products may raise the risk of employee injuries or illness. Farmers should not only carry the right workers’ compensation, they should also take steps to improve employee safety by:
- Assigning workers only to tasks for which they have training
- Abiding by all OHSA and employee rights laws. These include creating a safe working environment and overseeing employee welfare
- Employing a reporting practice to encourage employees to notify management of operational concerns
- Maintaining and overseeing the farm’s equipment. Proper maintenance of equipment can greatly reduce failure and injury risks. Farmers should secure hazardous materials and repair and replace their machinery regularly
With the right care, a farm operator can reduce the risk of workers’ compensation injuries financially challenging the business. If an accident does occur, the proper workers’ compensation insurance can still protect the farm’s assets.
We’ve got you covered. Call Loftis & Wetzel Coporation at 855-360-0466 for a fast, free farm insurance quote.