Proceedings of the National Institute for Farm Safety (NIFS) Annual Conference, June 23-27, 2002, Ponte Vedra, Florida, 2002 Jun :1-15
Although a myriad of research illustrates the safety issues related to farm fatalities in youth populations, very little empirical evidence exists to describe farm fatalities to non-working youth and youth under 16 years of age. Research such as that conducted by Myers and Adekoya (2001) and Castillo et al. (1999) utilize surveillance systems such as the National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities (NTOF) Surveillance System and the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) to provide information on occupational farm fatalities to youth. However, since youth are exposed to hazards both while working and playing on the farm, these studies exclude one critical component - non-occupational fatalities. Adekoya and Pratt (2001) utilize National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Mortality Data to address fata farm injuries. However, the data do not allow for a delineation between occupational and non-occupational events. In addition, the coding system utilized with these data does not allow for inclusion of transportation or intential fatalities, and fatalities occuring within the farm home were not included. To address both occupational and non-occupational deaths on farms, including transportation and intentional deaths, this research will utilize death certificate data collected by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) from all 50 state vital statistics mortality registries. Records satisfying the following criteria were requested: underlying, immediate, or contributing cause of death from an external factor; age of the decedent is less than 20 years of age; and the indicated location of death is a farm. The results include information for 368 fatalities occuring in the years 1995 through 1997. In addition to providing annual fatality rates and description of the general cause of death, this research will further examine the variation between age groups. In particular, a distinction will be made between youth under 16 years of age and those 16 and over. Preliminary findings show an average annual fatality rate for all farm youth of 9.76 fatalities per 100,000 youth. The most prevalent causes of death are; machinery (94), drowning (59), motor vehicle (49), nature/environment (25) and suffocation (24). Of all youth fatalities occurring while at work, 34.0% (16) are to youth less than 16 years of age. This same age group accounts for 74.4% (221) of all non-work related fatalities. This paper will provide farm families and researchers more detailed information on farm hazards that contribute to the deaths of youth. As these youth may encounter hazards while working or playing in their daily environment, identification and elimination of these hazards will increase overall safety on the farm.