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Hand Safety for Specialty Crop Production Workers – Frequencies of Open Wound Hand Injuries

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2012 Dallas, Texas, July 29 - August 1, 2012  121337881.(doi:10.13031/2013.41842)
Authors:   Michael L Pate, Brian Nummer, Subash Shrestha
Keywords:   hand wounds, farm worker safety

The objective of this study was to identify minor open-wound hand injuries of farm workers who hand harvest fresh fruits in Utah. During on-site data collection during harvesting of fruit, farm workers were asked to have their hands examined for minor open-wounds. Data collection was conducted on four farms. There were 33 workers that participated. The majority (57.6%) of farm workers were male. Most farm workers (81.8%) identified themselves as Latino or Hispanic. There were six (18%) individual who identified themselves as Thai. There were eight (24%) farm workers who had cuts to the dorsal portion of their hands. Only two (6%) individuals had cuts to the palm potion of their hands. There were four (12%) workers with dorsal abrasions located near the base of the hand near the wrist, while only one (3%) individual was identified with a palm abrasion. Only two (6%) farm workers were found with small puncture wounds to one of their fingers. There were two (6%) individuals that were noted with fingernail loss. This study has identified essential safety issues that need to be addressed for improving the effectiveness of safety training for migrant farm laborers. These open wound injuries to Migrant Hispanic farm workers during hand harvesting could create additional health problems with the possibility of infection and the spread of diseases such as hepatitis A. Continued research is need to understand workers acceptance of these injuries and barriers to personal protection.

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