Online database raises awareness on agricultural injuries; Report reveals young children at risk on farms
For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD – An online tool is helping researchers see trends in agriculture-related injuries and offer safety solutions for farm families.
AgInjuryNews.org data indicate that children ages six and younger suffer a disproportionately high number of fatal injuries in farm-related incidents. The results are consistent with previous studies: little children can get into trouble and get injured very easily.
AgInjuryNews.org is an interactive web-based system that anyone can use to search the largest database of publicly available agricultural injury and fatality reports. The reports include incidents involving adults as well as children.
Data are mined primarily from news media reports. AgInjuryNews.org uses web-crawling software to search for articles. Staff members sift through the results to find those related to agriculture, commercial fishing, and forestry injuries, then code and load the cases into the database. It offers a near real-time snapshot of the nature of incidents, across the U.S. and Canada.
“Media reports … have a unique way of moving people, much more than charts and numbers,” said project leader Bryan Weichelt, Ph.D., an associate research scientist with the National Farm Medicine Center, and National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute. When trauma happens, families are forever changed.
The information contained in the database can uncover trends and point to potential solutions.
Weichelt led a team of researchers from across the nation, which used two years’ worth of data (2015-17) to look at 255 incidents involving 348 youth injuries. They published their results in a research article in the peer-reviewed Journal of Agromedicine.
They found a disproportionate number of children ages six and younger died from farm injuries than victims in other age groups.
The team also found that occupational and non-occupational injuries resulted in similar injury severities.
The data also revealed that unsupervised children, especially youth up to six years, who were playing near vehicles, machinery, animals or farm structures faced an increased risk of injury.
In agriculture, the workplace often overlaps with the home, said Scott Heiberger, communications manager for the National Farm Medicine Center and current President of the International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health (ISASH). In fact, of children 10 and younger who are injured on farms, more than half are not working at the time of the injury.
For more information on this, and other trends, as well as safety solutions, www.AgInjuryNews.org and register for a free account.