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Injuries and fatalities to U.S. farmers and farm workers 55 years and older.

Myers-JR; Layne-LA; Marsh-SM
The Aging Farm Community: Using Current Health and Safety Status to Map Future Action, March 6-8, 2007, Indianapolis, Indiana. Urbana, IL: Agricultural Safety & Health Network (ASHNET), 2007 Mar; :1-26
Farmers and farm workers over the age of 54 years have been identified as a high risk group for farm fatalities since the 1980's. In addition, the severity of non-fatal injuries has been shown to be higher for these older farm workers. Data from two national systems are presented to better define both fatal and non-fatal injuries occurring to these older workers: the Occupational Injury Surveillance of Production Agriculture (OISPA) survey, conducted for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), maintained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. OISPA estimates that farmers and farm workers aged 55 years and older averaged 26,573 lost-time injuries annually in 2001 and 2004, with an annual injury rate of 4.5 lost-time injuries per 100 workers compared to an overall injury rate of 4.8 lost-time injuries per 100 workers. "Contact with objects" (35%) and "falls" (30%) were the most common type of injury event. CFOI data show that farm workers aged 55 years and older accounted for over half of all farming deaths between 1992 and 2004 (3,671 of 7,064 deaths), and had a fatality rate of 45.8 deaths per 100,000 workers compared to the overall farming fatality rate of 25.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. Most common sources of fatality were "tractors" (46%), "trucks" (7%), and "animals" (5%). This study and many others indicate that older farmers and farm workers have lower overall injury risk compared to workers less than 55 years of age. However, injuries in this aging farm work force appear to be much more severe, especially for fatalities where rates for older farmers and farm workers were over 2.5 times that of the younger age group. To more effectively encourage and reinforce safe work behaviors among these older workers, prevention programs may need to be communicated through non-traditional venues such as farm magazines and equipment dealers.
Injuries; Traumatic-injuries; Agricultural-workers; Agricultural-machinery; Farmers; Age-factors; Age-groups; Epidemiology; Statistical-analysis; Surveillance-programs
John Myers, M.S., NIOSH, 1095 Willowdale Rd, Morgantown, WV 26505
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Email Address
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Source Name
The Aging Farm Community: Using Current Health and Safety Status to Map Future Action, March 6-8, 2007, Indianapolis, Indiana