Perspectives of New York Farm Safety: Workplace Injuries and Worker Opinions

  • Pollock, John G.


The Dillman Total Design Method technique for conducting a mail survey was able to produce an acceptable percentage of usable survey instruments. The data can be considered reliable and representative of the agricultural related injury situation here in New York State. The sample size of 1400 farms was large enough to generate data to obtain accident rates and to provide some insight into selected characteristics of accidents and injuries. However, the 115 injuries was too small a number to result in significant distribution of results in all areas of interest. The 1984-86 Workers Compensation study of over 2900 reports did prove to be acceptable when categories were cross-checked with the 1988 accident study.

It is difficult to know if the injury rate on farms in New York is changing. A 1969 study was conducted using the National Safety Council data collection technique but does not report injury rates (Hoff, 1970). Some changes in accident/injury statistics are noteworthy between the 1969 and 1988 studies.

Characteristics of the dairy industry's accident situation are significantly different from the non-dairy group. A statewide safety program must take into account the unique needs of the commodity groups. The safe handling of animals is a prevention program area identified in the dairy industry. Prevention programs applicable to accidents occurring during the harvest months of August to October are important in the non-dairy group. Woods-working injuries are sufficiently high to warrant attention by the farm community. Youthful workers must be a target audience for safety and health programs if the strong desire to keep them in the work force is to be achieved.

Fatality information provides a different picture of the safety problem than does the accident studies. Tractor safety and driver training programs, especially for youth and workers 55 years of age or older, need to receive renewed attention. Prevention of tractor overturns and/or the deaths that result from overturns would reduce the fatality rate in New York by about one-half.

The farm community recognizes the need for safety and health intervention programs but does not seem to be willing to make them a priority. Farmers for the most part do not attend safety meetings but prefer to obtain safety information through general farm magazines. Cooperative Extension is the current agency of choice by the farm community to make request to for safety and health materials. Safety professionals need to utilize the Cooperative Extension network but must develop alternative to the traditional meeting or seminar format if the farm audience is to be effectively reached.


SOURCE: Ithaca, New York: Cornell University; 1990. 68.


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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