Farm Safety and the Need for Insurance

The issue of insurance, and the role of insurance companies, is a very important one in the context of safety for farms and agricultural businesses. Farms present a special difficulty for insurance companies because they are normally a mix of home and business. Most insurance companies will delineate specifically between home and business use regarding property and vehicles. With a farm that is not necessarily possible.

Most farms, depending upon their size, are run by a family and by paid employees. They may own the farm or be tenant farmers, but the principle remains the same. As a family, they are likely to live and work in the buildings of the farm and on land, without much of a distinction between home and business.

As employees, staff need to be sure that the insurance in force makes the distinction between home and business, and that they have sufficient protection, by way of proper insurance.

There are two main areas where this need for specific insurance applies, and where employees should be sure that their employer has sufficient policy cover.

Liability Insurance

Any employer needs to have different types of liability insurance, covering premises, liability to the public, employee liability, and possibly product liability as well. If a farm is selling produce to members of the public from their own land, then they will need some type of public liability as well as product liability insurance. If they are selling produce to suppliers, it is more of a grey area, but they would be well advised to seek professional advice.

It is crucially important however that an employer has employee liability insurance in place, in the event of an injury to the employee. Farms can be notoriously dangerous places, because of the mix of home and business and subsequent lack of boundaries. In addition, there are many different pieces of machinery, ranging from tractors, to excavators to chainsaws, with people of differing levels of ability using them.

Vehicle Insurance

Many farm vehicles, both tractors and trucks, as well as quad bikes and atvs will be used both on the farm itself and on public highways. It is really important, from an insurance point of view, as well as from a safety point of view, that tractor insurance the employer understands the legal and safety implications of this fact.

All vehicles must be registered and licensed in accordance with local state and federal law, and must comply with all types of lighting and marking regulations. In addition, there are likely to be a specific restrictions on width, length, weight and height of the vehicle, as well as limitations on the number and type of implements that may be towed by a vehicle. There may be specific requirements for safety chains depending upon the time of year and the type of land the machinery operates near or on.

In addition, there may well be state or federal law regarding the age of anyone driving a vehicle on a public highway. This may differ from any law regarding the use of vehicles on the farm itself, it should be rigorously adhered to.

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