Where Work is Hazardous to Your Health: A Survey of Occupational Injuries and Field Sanitation among North Carolina Farmworkers

  • Ciesielski, Stephen;
  • Sweeney, Maureen A.


Although farmwork has an extremely high rate of on- the-job injuries and is the most dangerous occupation in the country, no adequate system exists in North Carolina to ensure that farmworkers who have suffered occupational injuries receive the medical care that they need or any form of compensation that would allow them to take the necessary period of recuperation for a full recovery from their injuries.

Responses to this survey indicate that less than half of the workers who had been injured and felt that they needed to see a doctor were able to do so within the first 24 hours, and nearly one fourth never received any medical attention for their injury. Furthermore, the promptness of medical care appeared to be important. Seventy-five percent of those who saw a doctor within 24 hours reported a full recovery, while only 53% of others (those who saw one more than 24 hours after their injury nd those who never received medical care for their injury) did.

There were also significant problems with medical follow-up. Forty- two percent of those who actually received medical care report not being able to keep follow-up appointments, and more than one third returned to work before the release date given by their doctor. Thirty-nine percent of those who had been injured reported that they had still not fully recovered from their injuries.

Seventy-one percent of those who reported injuries missed at least one day of work because of the injury, but of those, only 21% reported receiving even partial compensation for work time lost. No worker interviewed who had been injured in North Carolina received any compensation for lost workdays.


SOURCE: 1990. 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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