Occupational and Rural Accidents

  • Knapp, Jr., L. W.


It is a fact that the agriculturist's occupation is frequently inherited, with the son following in the father's footsteps. He gains the major part of his training for dealing with the problems of farming accidents through experience and informal observation. In addition, it is obvious that in contrast to the industrial worker, he spends most of his working time alone.

The farmer is not necessarily a healthy person, in the sense that living on a farm makes a person healthy. Rather, the farmer must be a basically healthy person if he is to be able to live on a farm. The problems of working in the heat and cold, dust and fumes, rain and sun, in spite of colds, asthma, allergies, bruises, and zoonotic diseases, makes farming a struggle for physical self-preservation.

Farm accidents should not be regarded as specifically those kinds of injuries produced by agricultural equipment or animals on the farm. Agricultural accidents are not unique, nor do they happen to a unique group of people--they are instead the same kinds of accidents that befall the rest of the population, with the addition of a few which are peculiar to the occupation of agriculture.

Speed in the development of research in accident prevention is imperative. In a determination of factors involved in today's farm accidents, one must remember that the machines being studied are likely to be old in design. Manufacturers of farm equipment are designing machines that will appear on the market five years hence, and in many instances are considerably different from year to year.

We cannot stand still to await a highly sophisticated agricultural accident preventive research methodology to evolve while crude or less refined methods can provide immediate answers to some of the major problems encountered. Much work needs to be done along the lines of reporting accidents and improving techniques of interviewing. Also, the efforts of the finest investigators using the latest techniques will be sterile unless the information gathered is disseminated to the manufacturers of farm machinery and to individual farm workers.

Finally, medical services and rehabilitation programs must be improved for the agricultural worker of America. We can ill afford to lose even a small portion of this labor force when so many people, both at home and abroad, depend upon so few for their food and fiber.


JOURNAL: Arch Environ Health. 1966; 13(10): 501-506.

Note: Archives of Environmental Health.

NLOM ID#: 67040047.

This document was extracted from the CDC-NIOSH Epidemiology of Farm Related Injuries: Bibliography With Abstracts, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

We are unable to supply copies of the full report cited in this entry. Readers are advised to use the following sources:

  • Author or publisher: articles are frequently available from the author or publisher.
  • Medical or other research libraries: these facilities often have the material on hand or know where it can be obtained. If available, each journal entry includes the appropriate National Library of Medicine unique identification number to aid in interlibrary loan requests.
  • Government: some U.S. Government-sponsored research reports, including ones out-of print, are available from the National Technical Information Service, U.S. Department of Commerce.

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