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Identifying Work-related Fatalities in the Agricultural Production Sector Using Two National Occupational Fatality Surveillance Systems, 1990-1995

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

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 5(2): 155-172 . (doi: 10.13031/2013.5676) @1999
Authors:   D. L. Hard, J. R. Myers, K. A. Snyder, V. J. Casini, L. L. Morton, R. Cianfrocco, J. Fields
Keywords:   Agricultural production, Occupational fatalities, Surveillance systems, Statistics, Farms, Death certificate

Workers in the agriculture industry have consistently been identified as being at high risk for death and injury. Production agriculture, the segment of the agriculture industry that represents farming, has been shown to have higher rates of fatalities than the agriculture industry as a whole. The purpose of the manuscript was to provide a descriptive analysis of agricultural production fatalities for the years 1990 through 1995. Two national occupational fatality data sources were used to calculate agricultural production fatality rates: the National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities (NTOF) and the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). Employment estimates for calculating fatality rates came from the Current Population Survey (CPS). The majority of agricultural production worker decedents were white male farmers. The leading sources of injury were farm tractors, followed by trucks and harvesting equipment. Older agricultural workers (65+ years of age) were at high risk for death, with the most likely fatal event being the overturning of a tractor in a non-highway environment. Black workers in the agricultural production industry, and the occupation of black farmers in particular, were identified as having high fatal injury rates by race. Young Hispanic workers also exhibited a high fatality rate. Farm tractors were a leading source of injury resulting in death for males and females; however, there were gender differences in other types of fatalities. Females, while accounting for a small percentage of the total fatalities in agriculture production, had a higher proportion of deaths due to animals than did males, and also had a higher proportion of deaths due to being caught in running equipment than males. The two national occupational fatality surveillance systems, while showing differences in overall numbers, generally identified similar patterns of death for agricultural production workers. Finally, no clear downward trend for agricultural production fatalities was found, which is contrary to trends seen in the general worker population over the same time period.

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