Mortality and Morbidity in Agriculture in the United States

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Reynolds, Stephen, J.;
  • Rautiainen, Risto H.


This article summarizes the trends in agricultural injuries and illnesses in the past decade, as well as the needs for surveillance in the future. Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the U.S. The fatality rate in agriculture remained high (about 22/100,000 workers) through the 1990s, and tractors remained the leading source of death, causing approximately 300 fatalities each year. Non-fatal injuries and illnesses decreased in the employed agricultural worker population. There are no adequate injury and illness data for self-employed farmers and family members to show trends over time. The reported injury rates have been 0.5 to 16.6/100 workers, based on the source of information. Many studies have shown high rates of respiratory and musculoskeletal symptoms, hearing loss, and skin disorders in agriculture. The overall cancer rate is lower; however, certain cancers are elevated in farmers.

Surveillance information has not improved significantly in the past decade; however, many studies have provided more insight into the prevalence, incidence, and risk factors for injury and illness. Further efforts are needed to better define the populations at risk, including farmers and ranchers, family members, workers, migrant and seasonal workers, and others exposed to farm hazards. Fatalities are well documented, and it is important to continue existing surveillance in the future. Surveillance systems should be developed to collect information on agriculture-related non-fatal injuries and illnesses.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
Access this publication at: ASABE Technical Library

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More