Injuries

A number of studies have reported trauma-related mortality and morbidity on farms. In the United States the annual rate of death was 13.2 per 100,000 farm population between 1979 and 1981 and declined to 8 per 100,000 farm population between 1991 and 1993. Based on the observation that the in-hospital death rate increased significantly between the two periods, the decline was attributed to improvements in emergency medical services in rural areas. The annual morbidity rate for farm injuries reported between 1979 and 1983 was 1,551 per 100,000 and increased to 1,717 per 100,000 between 1990 and 1993. Myers (8) estimated that children aged 10 and under suffered nearly 13,000 agricultural work-related injuries in 1993, with nearly two thirds of these injuries occurring during the summer months when children were out of school. Children working in fields may

1. be near or in the way of machinery, including tractors and trucks;

2. fall from ladders while picking fruit; or

3. become dehydrated due to lack of drinking water.

Common agents of minor injuries to children are animal bites and falls, while the common agents of serious injury in North America involve tractors and moving machinery. Hauling and driving equipment including tractors are common activities for children on farms, particularly when harvesting and planting needs to get done quickly. Frequently the children are driving older tractors and doing routine maintenance around a farm such as mowing. Older tractors, such as the one in Figure 12.2, are less likely to have rollover protection structures and therefore present a significant hazard in the event that there is a rollover. These older tractors tend to be those that are used for routine maintenance such as mowing on hillsides (41-51).

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