Occupational Health and the Rural Worker: Agriculture, Mining and Logging

  • Pratt, David S.


More than 50 million Americans live in rural areas. These rural residents often work for small businesses or in the extraction industries (farming, mining, and logging). Because of the size of the businesses, the mandate of the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not cover these workers and they are seldom afforded the same protection as urban workers. This review focuses on the special health problems facing farm workers, farmers, miners, and loggers. Farm workers are o ten ill and are affected by psychological illness, injuries, parasites, skin diseases, and the dangers of agrichemicals. Farm owners also face the hazards of stress and have very high rates of suicide. In addition, they are often injured on the job and suffer the highest rate of job related fatality of any work group. The complex farm environment presents a continuous threat to the lungs. This danger has worsened with the increased use of confinement buildings for poultry, hogs, and cattle. As farming has changed with increased mechanization, attendant medical problems have arisen. These "illnesses of innovation" are important. Mining and logging also are dangerous occupations with acute and chronic problems including respiratory illness, vascular problems, and malignancy. The decade of the 1990s must be one of increased attention to rural occupational health care and research.


JOURNAL: J Rural Health. 1990; 6(4): 399-417.

Note: Journal of Rural Health.

NLOM ID#: AHA/91056506 .

Publication #: AHA/91056506

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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