U.S. Agricultural Equipment Fatalities, 1975-1981: Implications for Injury Control and Health Education

  • McKnight, Robert


National data obtained from the Consumer Product Safety Commission were analyzed to determine the extent and characteristics of farm equipment fatalities during 1975-1981. Of 3, 229 such deaths on farms, three-fourths were associated with farm tractors; one-half of these occurred when the tractor overturned. Besides tractors, 800 deaths were linked to 30 other farm machines, including auger-elevators, cornpickers, manure spreaders, and power take-offs. Clinical features of fatal injuries we e especially alarming, including massive thoracic crushing, decapitation, and dismemberment. For all forms of fatal injury, the death rate peaked in 1975. After declining for the next two years, the rate began an upward trend that has not yet abated. Compared to other age groups, farm children aged 14 and under were at higher risk for almost half of the study's 21 types of fatal injury episodes, including being entrapped in grain augers and being run over by farm mowers and tractors. An estimated one-third of all deaths to adults could have been prevented if three available, yet under-utilized injury control devices had been installed: tractor rollover protective structures, guarding on auger intake ports, and power take-off shielding. The study implications emphasize the necessity for new federal standards for farm tractor occupant protection as well as the need to rescind farming's current exemptions from OSHA oversight. This study, which is the first to describe the characteristics of these fatal injuries on a national basis, concludes with numerous implications for injury control and agricultural health policy.


SOURCE: Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University; 1984. 301.


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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