Farm Injury Surveillance in Michigan: The 1987 Sanilac-Tuscola Project

  • Doss, Howard J.;
  • Mills, Elaine M.;
  • Shapiro, Mitchell


The Michigan Department of Public Health, in cooperation with the Department of Agricultural Engineering at Michigan State University, designed and conducted a farm injury surveillance project in order to determine the factors surrounding agricultural work-related injuries in Michigan. This mail survey was conducted in Sanilac and Tuscola Counties, two representative agricultural counties in the State, and collected information on farm operations, farm workers, and details on injuries which occurred during calendar 1987.

Of the 785 farms in the sample, 114 injuries were reported on 98 farms, establishing an injury rate at 14.5 per 100 farms in 1987. At this rate, it can be projected that over 8,400 injuries are suffered on Michigan farms each year. There were no fatalities reported in this survey; however, 4.4% of the injuries resulted in permanent disability.

There was a direct relationship between exposure and risk: a larger number of work hours, a greater work force size, and larger farm size were directly related to an increased risk of injury on the farm.

Dairy farms in the sample were found to differ from the other types of agricultural operations; the factor more predictive of injury on dairy farms is fewer years of farming experience rather than an increased level of exposure to the hazards of the farm tasks and environment.

Males and hired laborers were found to have higher rates of injury. More severe injuries were suffered by family members. The majority of injuries occurred in summer and fall, except on dairy farms, which exhibited relatively stable rates of injuries year-round.

Farm machinery, animals, and tractors were the most frequently implicated agents involved in the injuries. Machinery repair and routine chores were most often identified as the activities taking place when the injuries occurred. Injuries suffered during the conduct of routine chores were most severe.

The majority of the injuries resulted in a restriction of activities, with over 40% necessitating a restriction of activities for one week or longer or resulting in a permanent disability. Hospital emergency rooms were the most frequently identified source of medical treatment for injuries sustained on the farm.

Based on prior research conducted in this area combined with the findings from this study, recommendations for farm injury prevention efforts in Michigan were formulated.


SOURCE: Lansing, Michigan: Cooperative Extension Service, Agricultural Engineering Department Michigan State University and Michigan Department of Public Health; 1989. 112.


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