NOIRS 1997 Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 1997. Washington, DC: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1997 Oct; :27
Little information regarding the incidence and risk factors for agricultural eye injuries in the U.S. is available. Data from the Traumatic Injury Surveillance of Farmers (TISF) were used to generate weighted national estimates of the incidence of eye injuries occurring on U.S. farms and ranches as well as to characterize those at highest risk. The TISF survey examined self-reported work-related injuries from a random sample of agricultural operations during the period of 1993-1995. The mail-based survey obtained information on injuries that either caused the injured person to seek medical attention or restricted activity for one-half day or more. It was designed to sample all 50 states by the end of the 3-year period. Preliminary data from the 1993 TISF survey of 20 states indicated that eye injuries represented 6.7% of all agricultural injuries reported in the survey. From the 33 reported eye injuries, it was estimated that a total of 13,512 eye injuries occurred on U.S. farms and ranches in 1993. For all lost-time injuries in the TISF, males accounted for 90.3% of estimated cases, and for eye injuries males represented even a larger percentage (98.3%). The greatest distribution (46.8%) of the eye injuries occurred in workers 20-29 years of age, but no eye injuries were reported for those under 20 years. The majority of the injured were non-Hispanic whites (66.6%) or Hispanics (29.7%). In the TISF survey, 63% of all lost-time injuries occurred to family workers (operators, partners and their families) compared to 37% for hired workers. However, 60.7% of eye injuries were reported for hired workers. Sixty-five percent of eye injuries occurred during the summer months (May-August). All of the reported eye injuries required medical attention but none resulted in permanent disability. The distribution of total eye injuries by the activity when the injury occurred was as follows: farm maintenance (17.8%), machine maintenance (16.7%), handling livestock (14.5%), handling or storing crops (11.1%), or field work (10.0%). The object that caused the eye injury was a power tool (21.9%), hand tool (15.2%), livestock (14.0%), plants or trees (13.6%), truck/auto (3.3%), working surface (2.5%), or other source (27.6%). Pesticides or chemicals accounted for only 2.0% of the eye injuries. The proportion of eye injuries to all types of agricultural injuries differed according to the type of operation. For example, 32% of injuries in nursery operations were eye injuries, compared to 3.6% for field crop, 4.4% for vegetable, fruit or nut, 5.3% for beef, hog or sheep, and 7.0% for dairy operations. No eye injuries were reported in this limited sample for poultry or other farming operations. Since eye injuries are largely preventable, these data may give direction for identifying certain agricultural tasks and specific agricultural operations to target for more intensive surveillance efforts and intervention research.