Older people (55 and older) work in many industries, but agriculture is one in which the average age has been increasing. Older workers often perform the same manual work tasks that younger people perform. Objectively, redesign of some of these tasks to accommodate older workers could prevent injuries and fatalities. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities data indicate a fatality rate in agriculture for ages 55-64 as 26.5 fatalities/100,000 workers and for age 65+ as 52.3. During 1985 to 1987, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Supplementary
Data System reported 5544 workers' compensation cases from 21 States for people over the age of 54 working in crop production (SIC 01), livestock production (SIC 02), and agricultural services (SIC 07). Of these injuries to older people working in agriculture, 31.3% (n = 1735) were sprain-strains. Two types of manual tasks in the agriculture industry, 1) lifting tasks and 2) manual adjustment tasks for adjustable rollover protective structures (ROPS), provide examples of tasks needing OAW design awareness.
This research abstract was extracted from a portion of the proceedings of "Agricultural Safety and Health: Detection, Prevention and Intervention," a conference presented by the Ohio State University and the Ohio Department of Health, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
J. Etherton, J. Myers and T. Bobick, NIOSH, Morgantown, WV.
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