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J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2012 Jan;72(1):257-62. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e318239ceed.

Trimming- and pruning-related injuries in the United States, 1990 to 2007.

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Center for Injury Research and Policy, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio 43205, USA.



Trimming and pruning equipment is used frequently in the United States, and associated injuries are common.


The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database was used to examine trimming- and pruning-related injuries treated in US hospital emergency departments from 1990 through 2007.


An estimated 648,100 individuals (95% confidence interval: 535,500-760,700) were treated in US hospital emergency departments for trimming- and pruning-related injuries during the 18-year study period. The average annual injury rate was 13.0 per 100,000 US population, and the annual rate of injury increased 35.1% from 11.4 in 1990 to 15.4 in 2007 (slope = 0.241, p < 0.01). Approximately two-thirds (67.6%) of the injuries occurred among males, and 62.8% of incidents occurred to individuals 18 years to 54 years of age. Lacerations and puncture injuries occurred most often (71.0%), and injuries to the arms and hands accounted for 67.8% of cases. A majority (56.8%) of injuries involved the use of a power tool. The most common project at the time of injury was hedge/shrub trimming (66.5%), followed by grass/lawn trimming (24.3%) and tree trimming (9.1%). Patients required hospitalization in 2.1% of cases. Most injury incidents (98.5%) occurred around the home.


This is the first study to examine trimming- and pruning-related injuries in the United States using a nationally representative sample. The increasing number and rate of injuries associated with trimming activities in the United States underscore the need for increased prevention efforts, including enhanced safety features of trimming equipment and better education of equipment operators regarding the potential hazards of trimming activities.

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