Farm Injury Surveillance in Two California Counties - General Findings

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Geiser, Christine R.;
  • Husting, E. Lee;
  • Osorio, Ana M.;
  • Summerill, Kathleen F.


Because of the known high risk for occupational injuries among agricultural workers, and the unique composition of the California agricultural industry, a two-county surveillance system was developed for the detection of farm-related occupational injuries. The goals of this project include the active surveillance of farm-related work injuries using multiple ascertainment sources, selective field investigations of identified cases, and associated health education and outreach. From October 1991 through September 1996, a network of medical care providers and local agencies in Monterey and Fresno Counties provided case reports for the farm injury surveillance system. During the five-year operation of the surveillance system, 5,164 cases were identified. Of these injury cases, 85% were male and 85% were of Hispanic origin. There were approximately twice as many cases in Fresno as in Monterey County, which is consistent with the different populations of each region. There were 134 (3%) fatal injuries and 319 (6%) hospitalizations. The two leading causes of the fatalities were motor-vehicle accidents involving tractors and agricultural machine/tractor episodes. Overexertion (14%) and falls (11%) were the most prevalent type of injury event. Despite the preliminary nature of this analysis, the current surveillance project has provided important information about the nature of farmworker injuries in these two counties which can be used in injury intervention activities.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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