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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Jan 23;(1):CD006398. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006398.pub2.

Interventions for preventing injuries in the agricultural industry.

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University of Iowa, Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health, 103 IREH Oakdale Campus, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-5000, USA.



Agriculture is more hazardous than most other industries. Many strategies have been introduced to reduce injuries in the field, yet the effectiveness of different interventions on occupational injuries still remains unclear.


This review aims to determine the effectiveness of interventions to prevent occupational injuries among workers in the agricultural industry compared to no interventions or to alternative interventions.


Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Injuries Group's specialised register, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychINFO, OSH-ROM (including NIOSHTIC and HSELINE) databases were searched up to June 2006. Reference lists of selected articles, relevant reviews and additional topic related databases and web sites were also searched. The searches were not restricted by language or publication status.


Randomised controlled trials, cluster-randomised controlled trials, prospective cohort studies with a concurrent control group, and interrupted time series studies assessing any type of intervention aiming to prevent fatal or non-fatal injuries among workers in agriculture.


Two reviewers conducted data extraction and study quality assessment independently. Rate ratios of randomised controlled trials were calculated and the effect sizes were combined in a meta-analysis. Interrupted time series studies were reanalysed and each of them studied for having an immediate and a progressive effect.


Five randomised controlled trials (RCTs) with 11,565 participants and three interrupted time series studies (ITSs) with 26.3 data points on average met the criteria. For educational interventions aiming at reducing injury rates among adults the pooled rate ratio after recalculation from effect sizes in three RCTs was 1.02 (95% CI 0.87 to 1.20). For educational interventions aiming at children the pooled rate ratio for injury rates in two RCTs was 1.27 (95% CI 0.51 to 3.16). One ITS that evaluated the effect of an intervention that included financial incentives decreased the injury level immediately after the intervention with an effect size of -2.68 (95% CI -3.80 to -1.56) but did not have a significant effect on the injury trend over time with an effect size of -0.22 (95% CI -0.47 to 0.03). One ITS study that evaluated the effect of legislation to ban Endosulfan pesticide on fatal pesticide poisonings increased the level of poisonings immediately after the introduction with an effect size of 2.20 (95% CI 0.97 to 3.43) but led to decrease in the trend of poisonings over time with an effect size of -2.15 (95% CI -2.64 to -1.66). One ITS study documented four different regulations aiming to increase the use of rollover protective structures (ROPS) on tractors and their effect on injuries and fatal injuries. The introduction of two different pieces of legislation requiring ROPS on new tractors sold after a certain date was associated with a decrease of fatal injuries over the long term (effect size -0.93 95% CI -1.02 to -0.03) but they were also associated with an increase of injuries in general (fatal and non-fatal injuries combined). Introduction of legislation requiring ROPS on all tractors, old tractors included, was not associated with a decrease but with an increase of injuries and fatal injuries over the long term.


The selected studies provided no evidence that educational interventions are effective in decreasing injury rates among agricultural workers. Financial incentives could reduce injury rates. Legislation to ban pesticides could be effective. Legislation expanding the use of safety devices (ROPS) on new tractors was associated with a decrease in fatal injuries.

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