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Does the small farm exemption cost lives?

Authors
Somervell-PD; Conway-GA
Source
Am J Ind Med 2011 Jun; 54(6):461-466
NIOSHTIC No.
20038505
Abstract
Background: Congress has exempted farms with fewer than 11 employees from enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Three states (California, Oregon, and Washington) do not observe the exemption. Methods: We compared rates of fatal occupational injury in agriculture, by year, in 1993-2007, in California, Oregon, and Washington (aggregated), and the remaining states (as two aggregated groups): those with, and those without, state-designed occupational safety and health programs. Results: Fatality rates were approximately 1.6 to 3 times as high in both groups of states observing the small farm exemption as in the group of three states not observing it. Comparisons excluding the agriculture industry showed weaker differences. Conclusions: The three states' opting out of the small farm exemption may have had substantial direct effects. They may also reflect and/or encourage a generally more effective approach to occupational health and safety. Although alternative explanations must be considered, the stakes are high in terms of injury and loss of life; further investigation seems urgently indicated.
Keywords
Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-processes; Agriculture; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Mortality-rates; Risk-factors; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Safety-programs; Safety-research; Statistical-analysis; Surveillance-programs; Work-analysis; Worker-health; Author Keywords: agriculture; fatalities; injury; regulation; safety; occupational; enforcement; exemption; small farm
Contact
Philip D. Somervell, PhD, Epidemiologist Alaska Pacific Regional Office, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4230 University Drive, Suite 310, Anchorage, AK 99508
CODEN
AJIMD8
Publication Date
20110601
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
gjx7@cdc.gov
Fiscal Year
2011
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Issue of Publication
6
ISSN
0271-3586
NIOSH Division
APRO
Priority Area
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Source Name
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
State
AK
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