Agriculture ranks among the most hazardous industries. Farmers are at very
high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries. Farming is one of the few industries
in which the families (who often share the work and live on the premises)
are also at risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries.
- Approximately 1,842,000 full-time workers were employed in production
agriculture in the U.S. in 2005.
- An estimated 1.26 million children and adolescents under 20 years
of age resided on farms in 2004, with about 699,000 of these youth performing
work on the farms. In addition to the youth who live on farms, an additional
337,000 children and adolescents were hired to work on U.S. farms in
- On average, 103 children are killed annually on farms (1990-1996).
Approximately 40 percent of these deaths were work-related.
- In 2004, an estimated 27,600 children and adolescents were injured
on farms; 8,100 of these injuries were due to farm work.
- In an average year, 516 workers die doing farm work in the U.S. (1992-2005). Of these deaths, 101 are caused by tractor overturns.
- Every day, about 243 agricultural workers suffer lost-work-time injuries,
and about 5% of these result in permanent impairment.
In FY 1990, Congress directed NIOSH to develop an extensive agricultural
safety and health program to address the high risks of injuries
and illnesses experienced by workers and families in agriculture.
NIOSH funds research and prevention programs at university centers
in 20 states. These programs conduct research on injuries associated
with different farm operations, as well as pesticide exposure, pulmonary
disease, musculoskeletal disorders, hearing loss, and stress.
NIOSHTIC-2 search results on Agricultural Safety
NIOSHTIC-2 is a searchable bibliographic database of occupational safety and health publications, documents, grant reports, and journal articles supported in whole or in part by the NIOSH.
Selected NIOSH Publications and Web sites
on Agricultural Safety
National Academies NIOSH Program Review: Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing
This report is the initial “evidence package” from NIOSH to the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing Research Program evaluation committee assembled by the NA. We stress “initial” because we believe that the AFF Program review will be best-served by substantial communications between the program and the committee throughout the process. It is understood that the evaluation committee and the NA are charged with executing a thorough review of the program and that to do so it will need much information from the program. We have tried to anticipate those needs with this package. In addition, we look forward to an ongoing dialogue with the committee.
National Agricultural Safety Database
(NASD) Web site
The National Agriculture Safety Database (NASD) is a collection of
information about health, safety and injury prevention in agriculture.
The information in the database was contributed by safety professionals
and organizations from across the nation in an effort to promote safety
Injury and Asthma
Among Youth Less Than 20 Years of Age on Minority Farm Operations in the
United States, 2000, Volume I: Racial Minority National Data
DHHS NIOSH Publication No. 2005-147 (July 2005)
This document presents the national Minority Farm Operator Childhood Agricultural
Injury Survey results for racial minority farm operations.
Youth on Farms, 2001
DHHS NIOSH Publication No. 2004-172 (December 2004)
Youth who reside and work on farms are exposed to potentially dangerous
farm hazards more frequently than other youth. Understanding how to create
a safe farm environment is important for farm operators and their families.
Unintentional Farm Injuries Among Persons Less Than 20 Years of Age in
the United States: Geographic Profiles
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2001-131 (July 2001)
Youth on farms may be exposed to a wide range of hazards, including machinery,
electric current, firearms, bodies of water, grain storage facilities,
and livestock. As a place of work and a place of residence, the farm presents
unique challenges for injury prevention. This document presents data by
state, Census region, and Census division for all youth fatalities on
U.S. farms between 1982 and 1996. These data, drawn from the Vital Statistics
Mortality files of the National Center for Health Statistics, indicate
that nearly 2,200 youth were fatally injured on farms during this 15-year
period, and that the leading causes of death varied considerably across
Injuries Among Youth on Farms in the United States, 1998
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2001-154 (June 2001)
Only 1,558 KB (191 pages)
More than two million youth less than 20 years of age are potentially
exposed to agricultural hazards each year--as farm residents, farm family
workers, hired workers, children of migrant or seasonal workers, or farm
visitors. This document presents national and regional data for nonfatal
youth injuries on U.S. farms for 1998. These data, drawn from a special
survey of farm operators across the U.S., indicate that nearly 33,000
youth were injured on farms during 1998, and that major causes of injury
included falls, animals, and vehicles such as ATVs.
Among Farm Workers in the United States, 1995
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2001-153 (May 2001)
The intent of this document
is to present the third and final year of the Traumatic Injury Survey
of Farming (TISF) results in an easily accessible statistical abstract
format. This is the third in the series of TISF reports [Myers: 1997;
Myers, 1998]. No attempt is made to interpret the results presented here
because of the quantity of data presented, and because these data represent
only one part of a more complex survey. It is hoped that the data will
be used by public health and safety professionals, engineers, and other
groups working in the area of farm safety to injury control research.
NIOSH Childhood Agricultural
Injury Prevention Initiative Web site
This Web site compiles all current NIOSH information on childhood
agricultural injury and the federal initiative implemented to address
this problem. Resources include recent publications, fatality investigation
reports, and links to relevant external Web sites.
Safety and Health Topic Page
This list of NIOSH resources contains links to publications and Web sites
on safety and health topics.
NIOSH Alert: Preventing Phosphine
Poisoning and Explosions during Fumigation
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 99-126 (September 1999)
Phosphide fumigants release toxic phosphine gas (PH3) when they contact
moisture in the air. When phosphine is inhaled, it can react with moisture
in the lungs to form phosphoric acid, which can cause blistering and edema.
These effects can be serious or fatal. Exposure to phosphine has also
been linked with other effects such as chest tightness, headache, dizziness,
and nausea. Also, improper handling of aluminum and magnesium phosphide
has caused injuries from flash fires and explosions. This Alert describes
205 cases of illness or injury in workers exposed to phosphine gas associated
with phosphide fumigants. Recommendations are provided for workers and
employers that cover areas such as: aeration and re-entry after fumigation,
industrial hygiene monitoring, personal hygiene, protective clothing,
New Directions in the Surveillance
of Hired Farm Worker Health and Occupational Safety: A Report of the Work
Group Convened by NIOSH, May 5, 1995, to Identify Priorities for Hired
Farm Worker Occupational Health Surveillance and Research
As part of its agricultural safety and health initiative, NIOSH convened
a work group in May 1995 consisting of experts in the areas of public
policy, farm worker health, and occupational health, to assist in developing
a prioritized set of objectives for the surveillance of hired farm worker
occupational safety and health. New Directions in the Surveillance
of Hired Farm Worker Health and Occupational Safety is the report
to NIOSH from that work group. In addition to priorities for surveillance
and research of the occupational safety and health of hired farm workers,
this comprehensive report outlines the factors that determine the occupational
health status of hired farm workers. It also suggests recommendations
for overcoming barriers involved in research with this population.
to Improve Safety in Potato Harvesting and Packing in Southern Colorado
NIOSH provided assistance on a study related to injuries in the potato
production and packing industry. This work was conducted under an agricultural
health hazard evaluation (HHE) requested by Colorado State University
(CSU) which involves defining the extent and nature of injuries in the
industry and advising farmers and packers about effective controls to
reduce the risk of injury. NIOSH researchers, in collaboration with CSU,
visited a number of harvesting and packing operations. During the walk-throughs,
the team collected data and provided verbal suggestions concerning equipment
modifications to reduce the risk of hand and back injuries. This is a
summary report with specific recommendations for the industry.
Hazard ID #4: Ignition Hazard from
Drilling into Sealed Frames of Agricultural Equipment
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 98-146 (July 1998)
NIOSH received two separate reports of farm workers who were injured while
attempting to drill holes into sealed plow frames in order to mount a
hitch or a "slow-moving vehicle" sign. These workers received
serious skin burns and other injuries when the drill bits penetrated the
frames releasing and igniting flammable gases. Hydrogen and methane gas
may be produced within sealed frames that are filled during manufacture
with scrap metal ballast. Although the reported ignitions involved plows
from the same manufacturer, the use of scrap metal fill may not be unique
to plows or to that manufacturer. The potential for such ignitions exists
in any equipment with similar ballast in sealed compartments during drilling,
cutting, welding, or other operations that both release the gases and
provide an ignition source. This Hazard ID provides recommendations for
agricultural workers, equipment manufacturers, equipment dealers, agricultural
extension agents, and universities in dealing with this hazard.
Safe Grain and Silage Handling
DHHS (NIOSH) Pub. No. 95-109 (October 1995)
Grain-handling machinery is the second largest cause of farm machinery
related deaths and also causes many severe disfiguring injuries and amputations.
Many grain-handling hazards can be avoided. The goal of this booklet is
to point out these hazards and suggest practical ways to prevent injury.
These suggestions were gathered from agricultural engineers and safety
experts throughout the world, but primarily from the United States and
NIOSH ALERT:Preventing Scalping and
Other Severe Injuries from Farm Machinery
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 94-105 (June 1994)
This Alert describes five cases of persons who were scalped when their
hair became entangled around the inadequately guarded rotating drivelines
or shafts of farm machinery driven by power take-offs (PTOs). Such entanglements
of hair, clothing, or body parts kill and injure many farm workers each
year. The recommendations in this Alert are provided to help prevent these
entanglement injuries and deaths.
NIOSH ALERT: Preventing Deaths of
Farm Workers in Manure Pits
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 90-103 (May 1990)
This Alert describes seven deaths from asphyxiation (suffocation) that
occurred during two incidents involving entry into manure pits. The recommendations
included in this Alert should be followed by all farm owners and operators
who have manure pits on their property. Editors of appropriate trade journals,
agriculture extension agents, farm owners and operators, and those in
the agricultural trades are requested to bring the recommendations in
this Alert to the attention of all workers who are at risk.
NIOSH ALERT: Preventing Entrapment
and Suffocation Caused by the Unstable Surfaces of Stored Grain and Other
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 88-102 (December 1987)
Entrapment and suffocation are hazards associated with storage bins and
hoppers where loose materials such as grain, sand, or gravel are stored,
handled, or transferred. The fatalities described in this Alert occurred
when suspended materials or crusted surfaces of stored material suddenly
broke loose and entrapped the workers. The behavior of such material is
unpredictable, and entrapment and burial can occur in a matter of seconds.
This Alert recounts seven case reports describing the deaths of 12 workers.
In each case, the workers became entrapped in grain or other loose material
and were unable to free themselves or be freed by their co-workers. These
deaths demonstrate the need to focus on preventing future fatalities.
NIOSH ALERT: Preventing Grain Auger
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 86-119 (July 1986)
This Alert requests the assistance of farm owners/managers, farm/agricultural
workers, and farm equipment manufacturers in the prevention of electrocutions
which may occur while moving metal grain augers. The grain auger is an
essential piece of farm equipment which is used to move grain from one
location to another. However, every year accidents occur when this piece
of equipment is improperly moved in the elevated position and it comes
into contact with high voltage power lines. This has resulted in one or
more fatalities per incident. This Alert describes two separate incidents
that resulted in five fatalities, and occurred within the same week (150
miles apart), and provides recommendations aimed at preventing auger-related
NIOSH ALERT: Preventing Fatalities
Due to Fires and Explosions in Oxygen-Limiting Silos
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 86-118 (July 1986)
This Alert requests the assistance of fire department personnel, farm
owners and workers, and silo manufacturers in the prevention of fatalities
due to fires and explosions occurring in oxygen-limiting silos. Several
recent incidents occurred while fighting oxygen-limiting silo fires which
resulted in the death of fire fighters. Other fire fighters lost their
lives as a result of similar explosions in the late 1960s. The problems
associated with burning silos appeared to have abated during recent years,
but these incidents demonstrate the need to renew efforts to minimize
their recurrence. A concerted effort should be made to prevent silo fires
from occurring and to provide training programs on controlling this type
Fatality Investigation Reports (conducted
under the FACE Program)
Since the inception of the FACE program in 1982, several fatal incidents
involving agricultural activities have been investigated by NIOSH and
over 200 fatal incidents involving agricultural activities have been investigated
by State investigators. This link provides a list of those cases which
in turn links to the full-text reports on the FACEWeb.
Other NIOSH Publications related to Agricultural
NIOSH ALERT: Preventing Injuries
and Deaths from Skid Steer Loaders.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 98-117 (February 1998)
NIOSH ALERT: Preventing Deaths
and Injuries of Adolescent Workers
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 95-125 (May 1995)
NIOSH ALERT: Preventing Carbon
Monoxide Poisoning from Small Gasoline-Powered Engines and Tools
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 96-118
Other Links of Interest:
and Seasonal Hired Adolescent Farmworkers: A Plan to Improve Working Conditions.
Recommendations from the National Adolescent Farmworker Occupational Health
and Safety Advisory Committee.
External link: http://www.marshfieldclinic.org/ldf/MCRF-Centers-NFMC-nccrahs-reports-migrant.pdf
National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety,
National Farm Medicine Center,
Marshfield Clinic, Marshfield, WI.
Page last modified: January 31, 2007
Page last reviewed: April 25, 2007
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)