There are many benefits to living and working on farms and ranches, including developing a good work ethic, learning responsibility, and developing respect for the land. While farms and ranches are wonderful places for children and youth to live, work and play, they are also one of our nation’s most dangerous worksites and the only worksite where children of any age can be present.
Rural Farm Safety
Rural Farm Safety
Definition: Rural areas have higher injury fatality rates than urban areas. This disparity is related to environmental, behavioral, and occupational factors. For example, the increased incidence of motor vehicle crashes in rural areas may be the result of narrow lanes, less visible traffic signs, fewer traffic lights, and the ability to travel at higher speeds on longer stretches of road. Rural areas are also home to some of the most dangerous occupations such as agriculture, mining, and construction.
Magnitude of the Problem: According to the American Journal of Public Health, rural fatality rates are twice as high as urban rates for many injuries, including motor vehicle injuries, traumatic occupational injuries, drowning, fires, unintentional firearm injuries, electrocutions, and suicide.
The leading causes of fatal injuries to youth on U.S. farms are:
- 23% due to machinery (including tractors)
- 19% due to motor vehicles (including ATVs)
- 16% due to drowning
Prevention: Factors to examine and address in order to reduce rural and agricultural injury deaths include:
- improved access to emergency personnel with advanced life support training,
- direct transport of rural injury victims to trauma centers,
- increased availability of rehabilitation services for rural residents, and
- the design and implementation of prevention measures that attend to the unique features of rural areas, such as greater distances between homes and the increased presence of open bodies of water.
Twenty percent of Americans, one in five, live in rural areas according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Rural areas are found in every region and corner of the country and make up 97% of land in the United States.i Rural communities are generally sparsely populated, located far from urban centers, distinct from one another, and have low housing density.
This webinar, presented by CSN in June of 2010, examines rural vs. urban injury disparities. Presenters included Erica Streit-Kaplan, MPH, MSW; Sally Kerschner, MSN, RN; Mary E. Aitken, MD, MPH; and Monique Sheppard, PhD.