Study of Accidents in Farming and Forestry in 1987

  • Broberg, Elisabeth;
  • Hansson, Roger;
  • Johansson, Albert;
  • Jorner, Ulf;
  • Karlberg-Nilsson, Brita;
  • Selander, Rolf


In order to gain an idea of the accident situation and also to obtain information as a basis for the planning of preventive measures in agriculture, the Swedish Farmers' Safety and Preventive Health Association, Lantbrukshalsan, together with the Swedish Board of Occupational Safety and Health and the Central Bureau of Statistics, sent out 20,000 questionnaires to farms and forest companies concerning accidents that occurred in 1987.

In 1987, there were about 227,700 farms with forestry and agricultural operation in Sweden.

A total of 7,500 accidents occurred in agriculture and 2,700 in forestry.

In all, agricultural accidents occurred on about 7% of farms with agriculture and about 2% of the combined agriculture/forestry farms and pure forestry farms. The relative incidence of accidents, i.e. number of accidents per 1 million working hours, is about 50 in agriculture, while the figure for forestry accidents is 120. However, these figures are uncertain due to uncertainty regarding the number of working hours.


  • There is a higher incidence of accidents per 1 million working hours on small farms.
  • If the proprietor runs the farm on his own, the relative incidence of accidents per 1 million hours worked is lower than if several people work on the farm.
  • 40% of all accidents occur during work with farm animals, of which 6% during mucking-out, stable cleaning and concentrate handling. Dairy cows account for 22% and other animals 18%.
  • 30% of all accidents occur during work with crops (including storage). 8% of these occur during storage and distribution of roughage.
  • 15% of the accidents occur during construction work and work with equipment.
  • 75% of the accidents lead to absence and 50% to sick leave.
  • The average absence per accident is about 29 days.
  • Accidents in conjunction with tractor operation and work with animals account for the highest number of sick leave days. 28% of the injured persons did not seek any form of treatment.
  • The risk percentage is the same for men as for women. However, on average, women have a higher number of sick days.
  • Men suffer 80% of all accidents. Women suffer more accidents caused by animals and falling than men.
  • The most common injuries are sprains, twists and strains with an average of 36 days absence per accident.
  • The main cause of the accidents is kicks from animals (26%), falls to a lower level (14%) and falls on the same level (9%).
  • In 22% of the cases, the accidents lead to injuries to hips, legs and knees.

Factors common to both agriculture and forestry:

  • Compared to other trades the incidence of accident is high, particularly in the case of forestry work.
  • The relative agreement with the official statistics (ISA) is usually good for different variables but not so good for the total numbers of accidents.
  • According to official statistics, there were about 5,000 registered accidents while this study found roughly 10,000. There is a lot of explanations for this discrepancy. The data collection for the official statistics is based on the work injury insurance. Even if all economically active persons - employees, employers and self-employed persons - are compulsorily insured for occupational injuries, the farmers don't use the work injury insurance for themselves and their family in the same way as the employees. Probably there is also missing in the data collection.


SOURCE: Stockholm, Sweden: Lantbrukshalsan AB (The Swedish Farmers' Safety and Preventive Health Association); 1989. n.p.


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.

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