The high risk of occupational fatalities in agriculture is well documented, but information on non-fatal injuries is lacking due to challenges in injury surveillance. This surveillance study explored the frequency, characteristics, and risk factors for non-fatal injuries among farmers and ranchers in the central United States. The Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH), in collaboration with the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), conducted annual surveys (n = 34,777 sent) during 2011-2015 covering a seven-state region (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, and South Dakota). The average response rate was 32% in the five consecutive annual surveys. The average injury incidence rate was 7.0 injuries/100 operators per year. Most injuries (89%) occurred during agricultural work. The most frequent sources of injury were livestock (22%), machinery (13%), and hand tools (12%). Risk factors for injury included: male gender, younger age (vs. 65+ years), farming as the primary occupation, greater work time, greater land area, ranch (vs. farm), organic farming, internet access, and production of several types of crops and animals. Most injuries (56%) required a doctor visit, and 12% required hospitalization. The average medical costs were $1,936 out of pocket and $8,043 paid by insurance. The combined average costs for most serious injuries were $7,858. Most injuries (66%) resulted in some lost time from agricultural work, and 13% were serious, resulting in more than 30 days of lost work time. The non-fatal injury rate for self-employed farmers and ranchers was higher than that of hired agricultural workers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This result reaffirms farming/ranching as a dangerous occupation and emphasizes the need for efforts to prevent agricultural injuries, especially those associated with identified injury sources and risk factors.
Keywords: Agriculture; accident; injury; risk factor; disability; cost.