Exploratory Research / Feasibility Studies

Estimated distribution of agricultural injury sources Estimated distribution of agricultural injury sources

Surveillance #1: New York State farm fatality and injury tracking

A. Fatality tracking, death certificates and news clips

NYCAMH has established an ongoing agriculture and forestry fatality tracking system, based on annual death certificate review. Agricultural fatality records as far back as 2000 are collected an analyzed, to identify trends over time. Moving forward in time, both agriculture and forestry fatalities will be tracked. This is a critical data set for identifying new trends, as well as evaluating the impact of NYCAMH programs on farm fatalities. The diagram below shows a preliminary comparison between agricultural fatalities during 1996-2000 and five years later, during the 2006-2010 period. We see in this table that tractor fatalities have gone down along with the overall fatality rate. It appears that this is related to the overall reduction in the number of tractors per farm.

B. Surveillance methods research: EMS as a data source for non-fatal farm injuries

Across the US, there are no good data on farming injuries. This is a major challenge in planning and prioritizing interventions and in evaluating impact. The NEC injury surveillance initiative utilizes an innovative method to track farm-related injuries and fatalities in New York State. Centrally processed EMS pre-hospital care reports ("ambulance reports") are reviewed for farm injuries. To supplement ambulance report data, monthly telephone surveillance with county-level municipal officials is conducted to supplement the ambulance reports and account for cases where EMS transport was not utilized. The long-term objective of this research is to develop an accurate but logistically simple and cost-effective system for tracking farm-related injuries and fatalities statewide.

Progress to Date

To date, over 275,000 ambulance reports from the 10 study counties have been scanned for agricultural injury cases. Thus far, ambulance reports have provided significant detail helping to identify the root causes of injury. In the ten-county study region, 142 agricultural injury cases were identified for 2007 (using both ambulance reports and community surveillance). This corresponds to an estimated 2,417 agricultural injuries for all of New York State requiring ambulance transport in 2007.