Objective: To describe the frequency and circumstances of work-related, fatal injuries among older farmers in Canada (1991 to 1995).
Design: Descriptive, epidemiologic analysis of data from the Canadian Agricultural Injury Surveillance Program.
Participants: Farmers aged 60 and older who died from work-related injuries from 1991 through 1995.
Method: Age-adjusted mortality rates were calculated using the Canadian farm population as a standard for people involved, mechanism of injury, and place and time of injury.
Main findings: The 183 work-related fatalities observed produced an overall mortality rate of 32.8 per 100,000 population per year. Higher fatality rates were observed in Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces. Almost all of those who died (98%) were men. Farm owner-operators accounted for 82.8% of the deaths (where the relationship of the person to the farm owner was reported). Leading mechanisms of fatal injury included tractor rollovers, being struck or crushed by objects, and being run over by machinery. Many older farmers appeared to be working alone at the time of injury.
Conclusions: The data suggest that older farmers died while performing tasks common to general farm work, that most were owner-operators, and that many were working alone at the time of death. Innovative ways to reduce work-related injuries in this population must be found.