Occupational injuries among minors doing farm work in Washington State: 1986 to 1989

Am J Public Health. 1992 Apr;82(4):557-60. doi: 10.2105/ajph.82.4.557.


Background: There is growing evidence that many children are injured while engaged in agricultural work. However, little specific information on farm work-related injuries among minors is available, probably because employment or workers' compensation data for children are hard to obtain.

Methods: Workers' compensation data were used to evaluate occupational injuries among children in Washington State from 1986 through 1989. The frequency and severity of injuries among minors doing farm work were compared with the distributions of injuries among minors working in food service and all other occupations by year of injury, age of injury, and month and hour of injury.

Results: A total of 16,481 claims filed by children under age 18 were evaluated. Although farm workers accounted for only 7% of all claims, they made up 36% of claims filed by children under age 14, and 17% of claims filed by children aged 14 or 15. Injuries classified as serious accounted for 26% of farm worker claims compared with only 16% of all claims filed by children.

Conclusions: Although injury rates could not be developed owing to the lack of denominator data, this study demonstrates that farm work is dangerous for young children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / mortality
  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Agriculture*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Food Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Seasons
  • Time Factors
  • Washington / epidemiology
  • Workers' Compensation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Wounds and Injuries / classification
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality