209296 Agricultural injury surveillance using EMS ambulance reports

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Melissa A. Brower, MPH , New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health, Cooperstown, NY
Paul L. Jenkins, PhD , Bassett Research Institute, Cooperstown, NY
Giulia B. Earle-Richardson, PhD , New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health, Cooperstown, NY
Background: Agriculture is the deadliest industry in the nation, with a work-related fatality rate more than eight times the U.S. average. There are unique challenges associated with injury surveillance within agriculture, particularly for non-fatal injuries. This study assesses the effectiveness of using existing emergency medical services (EMS) ambulance report data for tracking farm injuries and fatalities.

Methods: Ambulance reports from a sample of ten highly agricultural counties in New York are compiled by the State's data management agency, and are reviewed for farm-related events. For comparison, active community surveillance is ongoing through monthly telephone calls to 44 county officials (e.g., sheriffs, coroners, EMS coordinators) and newspaper review throughout the study counties.

Results: Review of ambulance reports from 2007 remains in progress. Preliminary ambulance report data has identified 14 farm injury cases, none of which were fatal. Falls were the most common injury mechanism among ambulance report cases (n=8, 57.1%). In contrast, active community surveillance identified 42 farm injury cases during 2007: nine fatalities and 33 non-fatal injuries. Equipment rollovers (n=12, 26.1%), strikes by an object or animal (n=7, 16.7%) and falls (n=5, 11.9%) were the most common injury mechanisms, and EMS were utilized in 90% of community surveillance cases. Only two injury cases were identified through both methods.

Conclusion: The minimal overlap of cases between ambulance report and community surveillance suggests that each may underestimate a proportion farm-related injuries. However, both methods provide data on non-fatal agricultural injuries, which has not been previously available in New York State.

Learning Objectives:
1. List the most common injury mechanisms of non-fatal agricultural injuries. 2. Identify the challenges and advantages of using ambulance reports for injury surveillance. 3. Describe potential sources of undercounting for agricultural injuries.

Keywords: Occupational Surveillance, Agricultural Work Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I act as study coordinator for the described research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.