(Part of Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health)


Abstract

Objectives: To assess the characteristics of occupational and leisure farm injuries in Greece.

Methodology: During a five-year period (1996-2000), 4,326 unintentional farm injuries have been recorded by the Emergency Department Injury Surveillance System in Greece. Data concerning demographic variables, accident conditions, and injury characteristics were collected by in person interviews. The data were analyzed by simple cross-tabulation and hierarchical cluster analysis.

Results: Injuries from falls on the same level are mainly lower-limb fractures and occur during the winter among older women. Falls from higher level concern migrant workers, who also tend to suffer severe multiple injuries, including concussions, particularly during autumn. Injuries resulting from cutting and piercing instruments, as well as from machinery, are generally open wounds in the upper limbs, suffered by young migrant workers. Head injuries resulting from striking against an object are more generally spread across socio-demographic variables. Overexertion is the dominant mechanism for dislocations and sprains in the lower limbs. Snake and insect bites are common among younger migrant workers during summer, and they affect the upper limbs during manual work close to the ground. Non-traffic injuries from vehicles are frequently severe, involving head concussion of generally young individuals.

Conclusions: In Greece, farm injuries are frequently serious and require hospitalization. These injuries show distinct patterns among older women (lower limb fractures), young individuals (non-traffic vehicle-related injuries) and migrant workers (injuries from cutting and piercing instruments, falls from high level, and bites). Prevention strategies should give priority to these population groups. These prevention strategies should include guidance for poorly educated workers, including migrants, enforcement of safety regulations concerning farming machinery, and discouragement of risky farming activities among elderly individuals, particularly women.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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Reviewed for NASD: 08/2009