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CMAJ. 1999 Jun 29;160(13):1843-8.

Fatal work-related farm injuries in Canada, 1991-1995. Canadian Agricultural Injury Surveillance Program.

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  • 1Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ont. pickettw@post.queensu.ca



Studies from other developed countries have shown that agriculture is among the most dangerous occupational sectors in terms of work-related deaths. The authors describe the occurrence of fatal work-related farm injuries in Canada and compare these rates with those in other Canadian industries.


The authors present a descriptive, epidemiological analysis of data from the recently established Canadian Agricultural Injury Surveillance Program. The study population comprised Canadians who died from work-related farm injuries between 1991 and 1995. Crude, age-standardized, age-specific and provincial rates of such injuries are presented, as are overall death rates in other Canadian industries. Other factors examined were the people involved, the mechanism of injury, and the place and time of injury.


There were 503 deaths from work-related farm injuries during the study period, for an overall annual rate of 11.6 deaths per 100,000 farm population. Modest excesses in this rate were observed in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. High rates were observed among men of all ages and among elderly people. Among the cases that listed the person involved, farm owner-operators accounted for 60.2% of the people killed. There was no substantial increase or decrease in the annual number of deaths over the 5 years of study. The leading mechanisms of fatal injury included tractor rollovers, blind runovers (person not visible by driver), extra-rider runovers, and entanglements in machinery. Compared with other industries, agriculture appears to be the fourth most dangerous in Canada in terms of fatal injury, behind mining, logging and forestry, and construction.


Canada now has a national registry for the surveillance of fatal farm injuries. Farming clearly is among the most dangerous occupations in Canada in terms of fatal work-related injuries. Secondary analyses of data from this registry suggest priorities for prevention, continued surveillance and in-depth research.

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