Farm-Related Animal Injuries in Kentucky

  • Auslander, Michael;
  • Meade, B. J.;
  • Spurlock, C. W.

Kentucky is one of ten states with Occupational Health Nurses in Agricultural Communities projects. In Kentucky, farm-related injury surveillance is conducted in nine counties representing 13% of the state farm population. After two complete years of data collection, 17% of the injuries reported were related to animals; this was the third leading cause of farm-related injuries after machinery and falls. There were 197 animal injuries, which is an average annual rate of 4.2 animal-related injuries requiring medical attention per 1,000 farm residents. This projects to 731 farm-related animal injuries per year in Kentucky that require medical care.

The median age for those injured was 38 years with a range of 2-90 years; 87% were male. Eighty percent of the animal injuries were work-related; the other injuries occurred during recreational or household activities. Eight percent of the injured patients required hospitalization and there was one fatality. Eighty-one percent of the patients had public or private health insurance.

Fifteen percent of the injuries were to children and eight percent of the adults were over sixty-four. These forty-three injuries would not have occurred in other hazardous occupations because of age restrictions. Other contributing factors may be related to living in the same environment as the workplace, the lack of maturity in children, and the reduced physical abilities among older adults.

Cattle and horses were responsible for 57% and 29% of the injuries respectively. Half of the cattle injuries occurred while the animal was confined for medical procedures or for loading and transport. Bulls were responsible for 14% of the cattle injuries, but constitute only 3% of the Kentucky cattle census.

Prevention strategies include teaching proper animal handling techniques based upon animal behavior and the appropriate use of well-designed confinement facilities. Keeping bulls for breeding purposes should be discouraged. Farm tasks should be undertaken by family members of an appropriate age and physical ability.

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.

The authors noted above are from: The Kentucky Dept. Health Services, Frankfort, KY; USDA, Tampa, FL and Kentucky Dept. Health Services, Frankfort, KY respectively.

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