Epidemiology of Farm-Related Injuries: Bibliography with Abstracts

  • Nordstrom, David L.

Published 1992 by U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. 206 pages.

This publication contains references to 1180 articles and reports on the topic of agricultural safety and health. Many of these references also have abstracts that describe the content of the article or report.



Agriculture is among the most hazardous occupations in America. In 1990, the most recent year for which data are available, the National Safety Council estimated that 1,300 agricultural workers died from work-related injuries; the fatal injury rate of 42 per 100,000 workers in agriculture is more than four times the rate for all occupations (National Safety Council 1991, 34). For every fatal injury, about 100 additional farmers experience an injury serious enough to require medical attention or keep them from normal activities for at least half a day.

Equally disturbing is the historical trend in farm-related injuries (Baker, O'Neill and Karpf 1984, 63). From 1930 through 1980, when the fatal injury rate from nonfarm machinery decreased by 79 percent, the fatal injury rate from farm machinery increased by 44 percent.

Several factors probably account for the paucity of sound research on the etiology of farmrelated injuries. Human injury is associated with accidents, a phenomenon to which science has devoted little attention because of a widespread belief that these events are unpredictable and unpreventable (National Committee for Injury Prevention 1989, 4). In addition, rural dwellers have been the subject of many negative stereotypes, suggesting that they may be unworthy of the attention of scholars. Historically the countryside has been portrayed as a healthier environment than the city (Knudson 1985, 3). In any case, support for injury research has been minimal (Committee on Trauma Research 1985, 5).

The various professional disciplines working on this topic are relatively isolated from each other (Waller 1987, 35). Much of the agricultural engineering work is unknown to occupational safety and health experts, and much of the epidemiologic research is not regularly available to engineers and safety specialists. Another obstacle is the fact that much farm safety research is not published in the standard periodicals and professional literature. Although some research from each discipline s published in peer-reviewed journals that are indexed in bibliographic databases, an unusually large proportion of farm injury work is "fugitive" literature, appearing only in conference proceedings, government documents, unpublished theses and dissertations, or reports by state health departments, agricultural extension services, or other organizations.

Traditionally, efforts to reduce the toll of farm-related injuries have relied on educational approaches of safety specialists in each state's agricultural extension office and on engineering approaches used by farm equipment manufacturers. Recently, however, public health and occupational safety and health specialists have increased their interest in farm-related injuries (Committee on Trauma Research 1985, 2). Epidemiology and other tools of public health research are being employed to study the causes of farm-related injuries. Interventions designed to address other health problems are being applied to injuries (Committee to Review the Status and Progress of the Injury Control Program at the Centers for Disease Control 1988, 11, 67-69).

We hope that this bibliography will stimulate and facilitate research on farm-related injuries. Despite considerable effort over four years, we no doubt have failed to find every relevant report. We welcome comments, questions, and copies of additional documents or citations on this subject. For this purpose, please contact David Nordstrom, M.S., M.P.H., at National Farm Medicine Center, 1000 North Oak Avenue, Marshfield, Wisconsin 54449-5790.

The National Farm Medicine Center is a program of the Marshfield Medical Research Foundation and Marshfield Clinic offering research, service, and education programs designed to improve the health and welfare of farmers and other rural Americans. Additional information about the National Farm Medicine Center can be obtained from Barbara Lee, M.S.N., Assistant Director, National Farm Medicine Center, 1000 North Oak Avenue, Marshfield, Wisconsin 54449-5790.

Works Cited

  • Baker S. P., O'Neill B., and Karpf R. S. 1984. The injury fact book. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath and Company.
  • Committee on Trauma Research, Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine. 1985. Injury in America: A continuing public health problem. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
  • Committee to Review the Status and Progress of the Injury Control Program at the Centers for Disease Control. 1988. Injury control: A review of the status and progress of the injury control program at the Centers for Disease Control. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
  • Knudson, T. 1985. A harvest of harm: the farm-health crisis. Des Moines, IA: Des Moines Register and Tribune Co
  • National Safety Council. 1991. Accident facts: 1991 edition. Chicago, IL: National Safety Council.
  • The National Committee for Injury Prevention and Control. 1989. Injury prevention: Meeting the challenge. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Waller, J. A. 1987. injury: Conceptual shifts and preventive implications. Annual Review of Public Health 8:21-49. 


Many agencies and organizations provided financial support for the preparation of this bibliography. Primary assistance was provided by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Additional aid came from the Division of Injury Control, Centers for Disease Control, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the John Deere Foundation; and the Marshfield Medical Research Foundation, Marshfield Clinic.

In addition, the compilers thank several individuals for their assistance in developing this resource document. We express our appreciation to Al Zimmermann, Marshfield Clinic Medical Librarian/Editor, for searching computerized bibliographic databases, obtaining National Library of Medicine unique identification numbers for journal articles, procuring journal articles through interlibrary loan, obtaining monographs from authors and publishers, advising on abbreviation of journal titles, and roofreading an earlier draft. We also thank Lois Komai, Reference Librarian, Steenbock Memorial Library, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, for searching several bibliographic databases and recommending various documents. We thank Jane Elkington, doctoral student in injury prevention at the University of Minnesota, who shared her extensive unpublished list of works on farm injury. We appreciate the materials on bibliographic database software that we received from Dorothy Early and Maureen Tollver, Midcontinental Regional Medical Library Program, Omaha, Nebraska.

We are grateful to William D. Hanford, Agricultural Safety Consultant, for his assistance in designing a mail survey to locate documents; to staff of the libraries of Marshfield Clinic, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, University of Wisconsin-Marshfield-Wood County, University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, Minneapolis Public Library, Iowa Hospital Association, and Pan American Health Organization for their help in searching databases and locating documents; to Diane Austin and Cathy Reinhart for administrative support; to Reed Hall for legal counsel; to Lisa Lynn, Jill Bulgrin, Marilyn Daul, and Connie Green for typing; to Larry Dupuis, John Schmelzer, and Elizabeth Menzer for editofial suggestions; and to Kate Konitzer for statistical and graphing assistance.

We also thank the following individuals for providing us with valuable citations and documents:

  • Herbert K. Abrams, University of Arizona
  • Henry A. Anderson, Wisconsin Division of Health
  • Barbro Andersson, Karolinska Institute, Sweden
  • Dale Anthony, Iowa Department of Public Health
  • Susan P. Baker, The Johns Hopkins University Injury Prevention Center
  • Thomas L. Bean, The Ohio State University
  • Ken Browne, New Brunswick Department of Environment
  • Diana Cantwell, Iowa Department of Public Health
  • P.C. Cryer, Wellington Clinical School of Medicine, New Zealand
  • Yvonne Doyle, County Kildare, Ireland
  • M.A. El Batawi, New York Institute of Technology
  • Mark F. Emery, New York Fan-n Bureau
  • Gary Erisman, Illinois
  • Paul Gunderson, National Fan-n Medicine Center
  • Ted Halpin, Farmedic Training, Inc.
  • Roger Hansson, The Swedish Fanners' Safety and Preventive Health Association, Sweden
  • David L. Hard, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
  • Dale O. Hull, Dale O. Hull Associates
  • Beth C. Hume, Massachusetts Statewide Comprehensive Injury Prevention Program
  • Bertha L. Ihnat, The Ohio State University
  • Iowa Hospital Association Library
  • David Kent, New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health
  • Barbara Lee, National Farm Medicine Center
  • Carol Lehtola, Iowa State University
  • Peter Lundqvist, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Robert McKnight, University of Kentucky
  • Dennis J. Murphy, The Pennsylvania State University
  • John G. Pollock, New York State Rural Health and Safety Council, Inc.
  • David S. Pratt, Bassett Farm Safety and Health Project
  • Mark Purschwitz, Clemson University
  • Bryan Rettig, Nebraska Department of Health
  • George S. Rust, Community Health Centers, Inc., Florida
  • Richard Sattin, Centers for Disease Control
  • Arnold B. Skromme, Illinois
  • Lorann Stallones, Colorado State University
  • William E. Steinke, University of California, Davis
  • Dean Stueland, Marshfield Clinic
  • Andrea C. Van Groll, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • Terry Wilkinson, Purdue University
  • Magda A. Ziver, Pan American Health Organization

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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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