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Musculoskeletal injuries in the major agricultural industries.

Bobick TG; Myers JR; Hard DL; Parker JE
Proceedings of the Human Factors Society 35th Annual Meeting, September 2-6, 1991, San Francisco, California. Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 1991 Sep; 35(11):867-871
A study of musculoskeletal injuries occurring in major agricultural industries was conducted. Data from the Supplementary Data System, Bureau of Labor Statistics, for the period 1984 through 1986 were examined to determine the number of sprain and strain injuries occurring to workers employed in all agricultural sectors. Relative risk indices (RRIs), the ratio of the percentage of sprain and strain injuries for a specific agricultural industry to the percentage of all agricultural workers employed in that industry, were computed. A total of 92,637 compensable claims were filed by agricultural workers during the study period. Of these, 32,305 (34.9%) were for sprains and strains. Back injuries accounted for the largest percentage of the total, 46.7%. Ankle and knee sprains and strains and injuries to multiple parts of the body accounted for 9.1, 8.6, and 7.9% of the total, respectively. Six industries had significantly elevated incidences of sprain and strain injuries: crop services, horticultural specialities, farm labor and management, fruits and tree nuts, landscape and horticultural services, and vegetables and melons. The incidence of sprains and strains in these industries was 7.1, 9.2, 2.7, 14.6, 20.2, and 6.5%, respectively. The percentage of all agricultural workers employed in these sectors was 3.0, 4.4, 1.7, 10.2, 15.7, and 5.1%, respectively. The corresponding RRIs were 2.37, 2.09, 1.59, 1.43, 1.29, and 1.27, respectively. The authors conclude that of the six agricultural sectors with elevated risks of sprains and strains, crop services and horticultural specialities have RRIs above 2.0. These two sectors have the highest priority for research directed at developing ergonomic interventions to reduce biomechanical stressors that can cause injury.
Agricultural-workers; Accident-statistics; Risk-analysis; Accident-analysis; Occupational-accidents; Epidemiology; Back-injuries; Information-systems; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders
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Proceedings of the Human Factors Society 35th Annual Meeting, September 2-6, 1991, San Francisco, California
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division