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California farm survey of occupational injuries and hazards.

Osorio AM; Beckman J; Geiser CR; Husting EL; Inai A; Summerill KF
J Agric Saf Health 1998 May; 4(Special Issue 1):99-108
It has been well-recognized that farm workers are at very high risk for occupational injuries. Due to the unique composition of the California agricultural industry and workforce, especially the migrant farm worker population, a survey of farms in two agricultural counties was conducted. The primary goal of the survey is to evaluate commodity-specific farm injuries and hazards in two highly agricultural regions in California with a high proportion of migrant farm labor, Fresno and Monterey Counties. The specific aim was to evaluate a total of 350 farms randomly selected after stratification for commodity and farm size. Each farm evaluation consisted of a farm owner/operator interview, seven randomly selected worker interviews, and a standardized health and safety walk-though survey. From 1992 through 1996, field visits and data collection have been completed for 357 farms (representing over 2000 worker interviews and 157 walk-through evaluations). Preliminary results indicate a work force of mostly Hispanic men (approximately 89%) with a mean age of 38. There were high prevalences of musculoskeletal problems in the lower back (24%), upper back (19%) and wrist (18%) regions of the body. During the past year, 29% of the workers reported occupational injuries associated with farm work, farm equipment or transportation. Among the injured workers, 20% reported multiple incidents, 27% missed at least one day of work, 46% saw a licensed medical care provider, and 22% knew of a workers compensation report being filed. Only 70% of the injured workers reported received training on the work task that was associated with their injury. The final California Farm Survey will allow a unique view of the farming industry in the State from the concurrent perspective of the owner/operator, the farm worker and the study walk-through evaluator.
Farmers; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-workers; Safety-measures; Injury-prevention; Occupational-health; Training; Epidemiology; Statistical-analysis; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Racial-factors; Author Keywords: Agricultural health; California; Farm worker; Occupational injuries; Farm hazards
Ana Maria Osorio, MD, MPH, Office of Pesticide Programs, US EPA (7506C), 401 M Street SW, Washington, DC 20460
Publication Date
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Journal Article
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Fiscal Year
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Special Iss 1
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Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: November 6, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division