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Farm Safety Survey (FSS)

Agriculture ranks among the most hazardous industries. Farmers are at high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries, work-related lung diseases, noise-induced hearing loss, skin diseases, and certain cancers associated with chemical use and prolonged sun exposure. Farming is one of the few industries in which family members (who often share the work and live on the premises) are also at risk for injuries, illnesses, and death.

In 1990, NIOSH developed an extensive agricultural safety and health program to address the high risks of injuries and illnesses experienced by workers and farm families in agriculture. One component of this program was the development of a surveillance system to track the magnitude of nonfatal agricultural injuries occurring to youth and working adults.

Four different surveys are conducted to obtain the surveillance data: the Childhood Agricultural Injury Survey (CAIS), the Minority Farm Operator Childhood Agricultural Injury Survey (M-CAIS), the Occupational Injury Surveillance of Production Agriculture (OISPA), and the Minority Farm Operator Occupational Injury Surveillance of Production Agriculture (M-OISPA). NIOSH also developed the Farm Safety Survey (FSS) to collect information from the farm operator on known hazards that occur on farms. These hazards include manure pits, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), tractors, animals, silos and grain bins, pesticides, and noise.

The first FSS was conducted in 2006 to produce national estimates of specific injury and health hazards. NIOSH collaborated with the US Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS) to conduct the initial survey. A second FSS was conducted in 2011, again in collaboration with USDA-NASS.

NIOSH is releasing results from the two FSS studies in

data tables that contain estimates of operation characteristics and operator demographics, as well as estimates for specific hazards.

Interpretations of these data are provided in NIOSH documents and publications. All estimates in the tables were calculated by NIOSH and are presented with the approval of USDA-NASS. Public access to all FSS data files, or additional estimates from the FSS, are subject to the approval of USDA-NASS. For additional information contact Kitty Hendricks.