Department of Public Health Sciences

Nonfatal occupational injury among California farm operators

McCurdy, S. A., J. A. Farrar, J. J. Beaumont, S. J. Samuels, R. S. Green, L. C. Scott and M. B. Schenker

J Agric Saf Health. 2004. 10(2):103-19.

We conducted a population-based telephone survey addressing farm-work-related (FWR) injuries among California farm operators. Of 1947 participants (80.4% response), 135 farm operators reported 160 FWR injuries in the preceding year, yielding a one-year cumulative incidence for any FWR injury of 6.9% (95% CI 5.8%-8.2%), or a mean 8.2 FWR injuries per 100 farmers in the preceding year (95% CI 6.8-9.7). Multiple injury events in the same individual occurred more frequently than predicted by chance. Sprains and strains (29.4%) were the most frequently reported injury and predominantly involved the back. Overexertion represented the most frequent external cause (24.2%), followed by machinery (14.3%), falls (13.0%), and animals (12.4%). Factors associated with FWR injury included white ethnicity (OR 3.19; 95% CI 1.38-7.36), increased annual hours worked on the farm, low levels of administrative work, and increased percentage of time working with livestock. FWR injury experience of California farm operators is comparable with that reported for other agricultural populations. Above-expected frequency of multiple injuries supports involvement of personal or environmental risk factors. Preventive efforts should focus on higher-risk groups and preventing overexertion and muscle strain and injury related to machinery, falls, and animals, especially livestock.

Keywords: Accidents, Occupational/*statistics & numerical data; Adult; Aged; *Agriculture; Animal Husbandry; California/epidemiology; Cross-Sectional Studies; Exertion; Female; Humans; Incidence; Male; Middle Aged; Multiple Trauma/epidemiology/etiology/prevention & control; Population Surveillance; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.; Risk Factors; Telephone; Time Factors; Wounds and Injuries/*epidemiology/etiology/prevention & control

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