Michigan Farm Accident Study: A Report on Accidents Occurring to Farm Families and Hired Labor, 1967-68

  • Hofmeister, Kenneth M.;
  • Pfister, Richard G.


The basic objectives of the study were to: 1) Determine the exposure characteristics of farms and farm families; 2) Procure information on the total Michigan accident picture; 3) Provide supplemental information on the nature and incidence of accidents that would come under workmen's compensation; and 4) Collect information for use in safety education.

A random stratified sampling of 2,139 farms was obtained from ten county areas. This represented 2.57 percent of all Michigan farms. The period covered by the study was June 1, 1967 to May 31, 1968 with 224 volunteer interviewers completing the project.

Results show that only 50.7 percent of the accidents occurred to farm people while doing farm-work. The balance of the accidents occurred while doing home-work, other-work, or during periods of leisure. The incidence of farm-work accidents is in direct proportion to the hours exposure to accidents. Leisure accidents are more nearly a reflection of the number of farms or the number of people exposed to accidents.

Information obtained in this study justifies the following conclusions:

Accidents do not happen by pure chance. Variations in farm factors and in family characteristics affect the occurrence of accidents.

  • The total annual incidence of accidents was 13.1 per hundred farms or 29.8 per thousand farm family members.
  • Farm-work accidents occurred at the rate of 6.67 per hundred farms or 20.6 per million man hours exposure.
  • The accident rate of hired labor in the sample was significantly higher than that of the farm family. There is no evidence from the study to assume that the accident rate per million man hours exposure differs for those head of households that spend more or less than 50 percent of their time working on the farm.
  • Evidence from the sample indicates that size of farm was not significantly related to the incidence of accidents when varying amounts of exposure were taken into account.
  • The incidence of accidents according to types of farms shows some variance, although there was not statistically significant difference.
  • Farm-work accident frequencies are affected by both age and sex groups. Male accident rates are higher than female rates.

Several likely candidates for an accident prevention program were found. Tractors, ladders and farm wagons had 6.5, 6.1, and 4.7 percent respectively of all accidents. There is a large potential for improvement in safe practices in these three categories. Leaders would do well to consider the overall impact any program would have on the reduction of the accident frequency.


SOURCE: East Lansing, Michigan: Rural Manpower Center, Michigan State University; 1968. 51.


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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