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May 16, 1990

And on the Farm...

JAMA. 1990;263(19):2600. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440190056026

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PLOWING a field is almost as dangerous as working in a coal mine in this country, and the federal government now has allocated additional funds to further promote the safety of the nation's 3.6 million agricultural workers.

According to statistics from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), within the CDC, agriculture ranks as the fourth most hazardous industry in the United States, with a mortality rate of 21 deaths per 100 000 workers.

The rate is nearly four times the national average of all occupations. Only mining (31 deaths per 100 000 workers), the transportation, communications, and utilities industries (26 deaths per 100 000 workers), and construction (25 deaths per 100 000 workers) carry higher mortality risks.

The National Safety Council estimates that about 1600 farmers and agricultural workers are killed in farm accidents every year and an additional 170 000 are injured or become seriously ill—half