Falls Associated With Harvest Work
Orchard Falls Facts: orchard injuries are a major agricultural health and safety issue in Washington State, accounting for 45% to 58% of workers compensation claims.
Workers’ compensation claims in Washington State orchards
|Cause of injury||n (%)||Incidence*|
|Vegetation, trees, branches||1674 (13)||12.57|
|Non-powered tools||904 (7)||6.79|
|Structure, material||891 (7)||6.69|
|Tractors, machinery||806 (6)||6.05|
|all others (<5%)||3181 (23)||na|
In this study, ladders were the leading cause of orchard injuries, accounting for almost a third of all claims (4,020) and costing $21.5 million over a six-year period. Sprain and strains were the most common consequence of ladder incidents, but fractures and dislocations were more costly, accounting for $7.9 million as a group.
Examples of the stated causes on the claims were unstable placement of the ladder, overextension of the ladder’s third leg, slipping while descending and being struck by a falling ladder. Ladder movement was a contributing cause for more than half (65%) of the injuries and the main cause in 47%. More falls occurred on the upper third of the ladder than in the middle or lower positions.
Slipping accounted for a quarter of the cases.