The agricultural work force in the United States totals 3.2
million, which equates to 2.7% of our total work force. However,
there are 1,300 deaths and 120,000 disabling injuries annually,
or 12.5% of all workplace deaths and 7.1% of all disabling injuries.
Both of these rates--deaths and disabling injuries--exceed the
rates of the construction and transportation industries, and
only mining has a higher death rate. Unfortunately, agriculture
is one of the more hazardous occupations in the United States.
Florida contributes to this problem. Over the past seven years there have been over 150 confirmed deaths due to work-related agricultural accidents, an average of over twenty per year. During this same seven-year period there has been an average of 3,500 serious injuries per year. (A serious injury is one in which the injured person misses a week or more of work.)
This report analyzes the work-related deaths and injuries in Florida agriculture during 1991. The data for this analysis are from the Division of Workers' Compensation, supplemented by newspaper clippings and dialogue with county extension personnel.
The fatality data are for all known agricultural-related deaths. The information on serious injuries is incomplete, since only injuries reported to the Division of Workers' Compensation are included. Many small family farm operations are not required to provide workers' compensation insurance; therefore, these injuries go unreported. It is estimated that 25% of all serious agricultural injuries go unreported.
Of the 49 work-related fatalities, 17 were the result of motor vehicle accidents on public or private roads. The National Safety Council (NSC) considers such fatalities as transportation accidents. Therefore, there were 25 agricultural and 17 transportation work-related accidents in Florida agriculture in 1991. Seven deaths were from other, unknown or natural causes.
Tractors, machinery and motor vehicles continue to be the major agents of accidents, accounting for 34 fatalities. Four fatalities were drownings, three were falls, and one was from a falling tree. The other, unknown or natural causes deaths occurred while the workers were on the job but were not determined to be work-related deaths. Accidents which resulted in fatalities are summarized in Table 1, with additional detail in Table 2.
|Table 1. Types of accidents resulting in agricultural-related fatalities in Florida for 1991.|
|Types of Accidents||Number of Fatalities|
|Other, Unknown, Natural Causes||7|
|* While these motor vehicle accidents were work-related, they are not considered to be agricultural accidents; rather, they are classified as transportation accidents.|
|Table 2. Agricultural fatalities in Florida for 1991.|
|01/02/91 - Highlands||Arturo Garcia, employee of Moline/Chapp, killed in a goat overturn.|
|01/15/91 - Dade||Jesus Arias, employee of Alex Farms, died while on the job from unknown causes.|
|01/28/91 - Indian River||Santas Moreno, employee of Golden J. Harvesting, died while on the job of a heart attack.|
|02/18/91 - Palm Beach||Unknown name, employee of Tallsmen Sugar Corp, was killed when his truck overturned.|
|02/19/91 - Broward||Juan Santibanez, employee of Plants for Tomorrow, drowned while on the job.|
|02/19/91 - Broward||Osca Cordero, employee of Plants for Tomorrow, drowned while on the job.|
|02/25/91 - Dade||Jose Villasenor, employee of A&J Farms, was killed when a tractor fell on him.|
|02/28/91 - Polk||Ernest Smith, employee of Growers Fertilizer, Inc., was killed when a forklift overturned.|
|02/21/90 - Palm Beach||Jesus Anzo, the son of an employee of Blue Trace Farms, was killed when he was run over by a goat.|
|03/25/91 - Palm Beach||Manuel Figueroa, employee of Sugar Cane Growers, was killed in a collision with a train.|
|04/01/91 - Palm Beach||Eddie Ward, an employee of A. Duda & Sons, Inc., died of a heart attack while on the job.|
|04/12/91 - Hendry||Name unknown, killed while repairing a tire.|
|04/18/91 - Hendry||Oswell Blake, employee of Okeelanta Farms, drowned when trapped under a tractor in a canal.|
|04/19/91 - St. Lucie||Joseph Fleurstin, employee of Harbor Harvestor, died of an aneurysm while on the job.|
|05/01/91 - Palm Beach||Epijania Galvey, employee of Lehtos Lawn Maintenance, drowned while on the job in a pool.|
|05/01/91 - Palm Beach||Pelipe Guinia, employee of Lehtos Lawn Maintenance, drowned while on the job in a pool.|
|05/14/91 - Dade||Paul S. Crigler, Jr., employee of South Florida Building Service, was crushed to death when he was run over by a tractor.|
|05/14/91 - Charlotte||Jose Rafael Aireola, employee of Lipman and Lipman, was killed when running to jump on a truck. He tripped and was run over by the truck.|
|06/17/91 - Hillsborough||Jerry Sellers, employee of Bay Area Tree Service, died as a result of a fall from a tree.|
|06/25/91 - Polk||Clarence Gordon, was killed when his tractor was struck by a tractor-trailer.|
|07/09/91 - DeSoto||Emery Smith, employee of Bright Hour Ranch, was crushed to death in tractor-mower accident.|
|07/17/91 - Hernando||Luis Membreno, employee of John G. Grubbs, Inc., drowned when his tractor overturned in a ditch.|
|07/19/91 - Polk||Charles M. Thomas, employee of Dunson Harvesting, Inc., was crushed to death by a tractor.|
|07/22/91 - Hendry||John Dyers III, employee of Jack Berry Holding Co., was crushed to death by a forklift.|
|07/25/90 - Holmes||Arthur Bovee, employee of McCormick Logging, was killed by a falling tree.|
|08/17/91 - Lake||Deuron Gay, was killed when he fell off a tractor, driven by his father, and was run over by a bushhog.|
|08/26/91 - Broward||Andres Orta, employee of Landscaping Associates, was killed on the job in a truck accident.|
|09/05/91 - Dade||Pedro Luis Perez, employee of Perez Tree Service, was killed in a fall from a tree.|
|09/16/91 - Palm Beach||Samuel Bynum, employee of Royal Palm Citrus, was killed when his tractor went into a canal. Blood alcohol level .12.|
|09/21/91 - Palm Beach||Unknown, was crushed and killed when he was pinned by the hydraulic arm of a pesticide sprayer.|
|09/25/91 - ???????||George Edwards, employee of Burton-Bostwick Groves, was killed when his tractor and sprayer were struck by a semi-truck.|
|09/25/91 - Palm Beach||Justin Harris, employee of Horace Harris, drowned when a truck pulling sugar cane overturned in a canal.|
|10/12/91 - Hendry||Randy Gibson, employee of U.S. Sugar Corporation, died of unknown causes while on the job.|
|10/18/91 - Lake||Cruz H. Alvarez, employee of Okeelanta Corp., drowned when a car driven by an employee went into a canal.|
|10/18/91 - Palm Beach||Diego Mendoza Ailon, employee of Okeelanta Corp., drowned when a car driven by an employee went into a canal.|
|10/18/91 - Palm Beach||Domingo O. Mejio, employee of Okeelanta Corp., drowned when a car driven by an employee went into a canal.|
|10/18/91 - Palm Beach||Francisco H. Corince, employee of Okeelanta Corp., drowned when a car driven by an employee went into a canal.|
|10/18/91 - Palm Beach||Julio M. Corince, employee of Okeelanta Corp., drowned when a car driven by an employee went into a canal.|
|10/18/91 - Palm Beach||Pablo M. Ortiz, employee of Okeelanta Corp., drowned when a car driven by an employee went into a canal.|
|10/18/91 - Palm Beach||Pascual V. Mendez, employee of Okeelanta Corp., drowned when a car driven by an employee went into a canal.|
|10/28/91 - DeSoto||Robert Grubbs, employee of Orange County or Florida, died of unknown causes while on the job.|
|10/30/91 - Manatee||Bertin Aburto, employee of Schroeder-Manatee, killed in a motor vehicle accident on company property.|
|11/08/91 - Broward||Rene Barcelo, employee of Florida International University, fell from his tractor and was run over by a bushhog.|
|11/??/91 - Palm Beach||Walter Brown, employee of Okeelanta Sugar Corp., was killed when his truck went into a canal on the property.|
|12/16/91 - Martin||Alvin Stanley, employee of Caulkins Indiantown Citrus, died of multiple injuries.|
|12/16/91 - Palm Beach||Thomas E. Wright, employee of Road Landscaping Co., died of unknown causes on the job.|
|12/17/91 - Hendry||Unknown, killed while repairing a tire.|
|12/20/91 - Palm Beach||Jose R. Rivas, employee of Talisman Sugar Corp., was killed in a vehicle accident.|
|12/??/91 - Alachua||Charles Martin, employee of Dowling Tree Service, died as a result of a fall from a tree.|
|Table 3. Number of serious agricultural accidents by type of agricultural business in 1991.|
|CATEGORY||NUMBER SERIOUSLY INJURED||PERCENT OF TOTAL|
and Vegetable Production:
Citrus, berries, melons, vegetables, etc.
Dairy, beef, hogs, poultry
Crops and livestock. No single enterprise produces 50% of the farm's total income.
Greenhouse, nurseries, flowers, potted plants and sod
Field and grove work, chemical application, farm labor contracts, fruits and vegetables
Veterinarian services, breeding, training, alligator, horse, game farms
Landscaping, grounds maintenance, tree services
Cashgrain, forestry, fisheries, etc.
|Table 4. Major agents of injury (expressed in percentages).|
|Type of Agribusiness||A%||B%||C%||D%||E%||F%||G%||H%||I%||J%||K%|
|Fruit and Vegetable Production||421||19||19||6||15||5||6||1||2||4||23|
|General Farm Production||420||22||6||7||12||4||1||4||2||5||37|
|A - Total Number of Injuries : B - Working Surfaces* : C - Heavy Objects* : D - Tractors/Vehicles* : E - Bodily Motions* F - Handpower Tools : G - Trees : H - Machines : I - Infections/Poisons : J - Insects/Animals : K - Unknown/Other * Four major agents of injury cause over 50% of serious injury. The problem of dangerous Working Surfaces, Heavy Objects, Bodily Motion, and Tractors/Vehicles need special attention if accident rates are to be significantly reduced.|
|Table 5. Accident type (expressed in percentages).|
|Type of Agribusiness||A||B%||C%||D%||E%||F%||G%||H%||I%|
|Fruit and Vegetable Production||421||28||15||8||4||5||15||17||8|
|General Farm Production||420||28||13||12||5||12||19||7||4|
|A - Total Number of Injuries : B - Overexertion : C - Falls, Different Level : D - Falls, Same Level : E - Vehicle : F - Caught in Something : G - Struck by Something : H - Struck Against : I - Other|
|Table 6. Nature of injury (expressed in percentages).|
|Type of Agribusiness||A||B%||C%||D%||E%||F%||G%|
|Fruit and Vegetable Production||421||61||8||2||14||7||8|
|General Farm Production||420||74||9||1||7||5||4|
|A - Total Number of Injuries : B - Strains Sprains : C - Fractures : D - Crushings : E - Cuts and Abrasions : F - Bruises and Contusions : G - Other|
|Table 7. Part of body injured (expressed in percentages).|
|Type of Agribusiness||A||B%||C%||D%||E%||F%||G%||H%||I%|
|Fruit and Vegetable Production||421||24||9||10||11||8||19||11||8|
|General Farm Production||420||18||9||16||13||6||14||17||7|
|A - Total Number of Injuries : B - Back : C - Trunk : D - Arm : E - Hand : F - Foot : G - Leg : H - Multiple Parts : I - Head/Eyes|
Fruit and Vegetable Production: Nearly one-fourth (24%)
of all injuries to fruit and vegetable production workers
were to the Back. The Leg or Foot were injured in 27% of the
serious accidents; the Arm and Hand 21% of the time. Eleven
percent of the workers suffered serious multiple injuries,
to several parts of the body.
Livestock Production: Hand (22%) injuries were most common in livestock production occupations while Back injuries occurred to 17% of the livestock production workers. Thirty-three percent received Arm or Hand injuries; 23% Leg or Foot injuries. Another 12% had serious Multiple Part injuries.
General Farm Production: Serious injuries to general farm production workers were 18% Back injuries, 29% of the injuries to the Arm and Hand, 20% to the Leg and Foot, and 17% were Multiple Part injuries.
Horticultural Production: Nearly one-fourth (23%) of all serious injuries to horticultural production workers were to the Back. Over a quarter (26%) of the injuries were to the Arm and Hand, primarily to the hand. Another quarter (26%) of the injuries to the Leg and Foot, primarily to the leg. Fifteen percent of the serious injuries affected Multiple Parts of the body.
Crop Services: Leg (25%) injuries were most frequent among crop production service workers. Hand (15%) and Arm (14%) injuries accounted for a total of 29% of the total injuries. Back (15%) and Trunk (11%) added up to 26% of the serious injuries.
Livestock Services: Again, the Back was the body part with the most serious injuries totaling 22%. Another 12% of the injuries were to the Trunk. A total of 26% of the injuries were to the Arms and Hands; 24% to the Legs and Feet; and Multiple Parts injuries were another 16%.
Horticultural Services: The Back, again, was the body part most often suffering serious injuries with 21%. Another 27 percent was to the Arms and Hands; 23% to the Legs and Feet. Fourteen percent of the serious injuries were injuries to Multiple Parts of the body.
|Table 8. Percentage of serious injuries for 1991 (by sex and age).|
|Type of Agribusiness||A||B%||C%||D%||E%||F%||G%||H%||I%||J%|
|Fruit and Vegetable Production||421||80||20||3||30||28||21||12||5||1|
|General Farm Production||420||83||17||3||22||37||21||10||6||1|
|A - Total Number : B - Male : C - Female : D - Age 20 : E - Age 20-29 : F - Age 30-39 : G - Age 40-49 : H - Age 50-59 : I - Age 60-69 : J - Age 70+|
|Table 9. Number of serious agricultural accidents(1) (expressed in percentages).|
|1 - Serious agricultural accidents result in death or injuries which keep employees off the job for one week or more, as reported to the Florida Division of Workers' Compensation. Since many of our family farms are not covered by workers' compensation, serious agricultural accidents on these farms go unreported.|
|x - Efforts to reduce the number of serious agricultural accidents are needed in these counties.|
Publication #: SS-AGE-31
document, Special Series Report
was published November 1992 by the Florida Cooperative Extension
William J. Becker and Tracy A. Wood, Professor and Extension Safety Specialist, Student, respectively, Agricultural Engineering Department, Cooperative Extension Service
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