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Utah farm owner/operators' safety practices and risk awareness regarding confined space work in agriculture.

Pate ML; Merryweather AS
J Agric Saf Health 2012 Oct; 18(4):273-284
The purpose of this study was to describe current safety practices and risk awareness associated with confined spaces in agriculture among Utah farm owner/operators. There were 399 farm owner/operators in the sample. The final response rate was 82.2%. The typical farm owner/operator in this study was male, between the ages of 50 and 59, with some education beyond high school. Grain and dairy production comprised 48.7% of the operations responding to the survey. A majority (50.2%) of respondents reported having entered a confined space without an observer waiting from the outside. All but 9.5% of the respondents indicated that they had no written emergency response plan in the event of a confined space emergency involving an entrant. Only 49.1% of farm owner/operators perceived entering a grain bin while unloading as a high risk for fatal injury. More research is needed to determine the farmers' knowledge of the variety of hazards associated with confined space work. Few farm owner/operators reported using accessible safety equipment. A limited number of respondents indicated having access to gas monitors, lifeline and harness systems, or ventilation blowers with flexible ducting. This may be associated with the costs of the equipment, or lack of awareness of the need for specific safety equipment.
Agriculture; Farmers; Confined-spaces; Statistical-analysis; Humans; Men; Emergency-response; Exposure-levels; Risk-factors; Traumatic-injuries; Hazards; Safety-equipment; Gases; Monitors; Harnesses; Ventilation; Ventilation-equipment; Ventilation-systems; Author Keywords: Confined spaces; Farm owner/operators; Fatal injury risks; Safety training
Michael Pate, Department of Agricultural Systems Technology and Education, 2300 Old Main Hill, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-2300
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement; Agriculture
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U54-OH-008085; B20121218D
Issue of Publication
Priority Area
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Source Name
Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Colorado State University - Ft. Collins
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division