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Fatal work related injuries in agricultural production and services to agriculture sectors of New Zealand, 1985–94


OBJECTIVES To describe work related fatal injuries to agricultural workers in New Zealand to identify priority areas for further research and injury control measures.

METHODS Injury deaths in New Zealanders aged 15–84 inclusive for the period 1985–94 were identified and the coroner's files for these obtained. These files were then reviewed to determine whether the death arose as a result of work activities. Those deaths considered to be work related were coded for information relating to decedent demographics and the circumstances of the fatal injury. Work related deaths from injury occurring in the agricultural production and services to agriculture sectors were analysed.

RESULTS The rate of fatal injuries to male agricultural workers over the study period was 21.2/100 000, with injury deaths in the agricultural sectors accounting for nearly a quarter of all work related fatal injuries in New Zealand in that time. There was no significant decline in fatal injuries to agricultural workers in the study decade. Workers in the 65–84 age bracket were at substantially higher risk of fatal injury than other age groups. Machinery and motor vehicles were commonly associated with fatal injury, with overturns on or next to embankments and slopes being the most frequent scenario.

CONCLUSIONS The results of this study highlight fatal injuries in older workers and machinery incidents (particularly tractors overturning) as priority areas for further research into contributing factors and injury control measures.

  • agriculture
  • fatal injury

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