The hierarchy of control in the epidemic of farm injury

James Dosman, Louise Hagel, Nathan King, Niels Koehncke, Shelley Kirychuk, Catherine Trask, Joshua Neudorf, Lesley Day, Don Voaklander, William Pickett

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The application of the hierarchy of control (HOC) is a well-established approach to hazardreduction in industrial workplaces. However, it has not been generally applied in farm workplaces.The objective was to determine current practices of farmers in the context of a modified HOC, and theeffect of these practices on farm injury outcomes. A self-reported mail survey of 1196 Saskatchewanfarm operations was conducted in 2013. Selected survey questions were used as proxy measures of thefarm owner-operator’s practices relevant to each of the six steps of increasing importance in a modifiedHOC: (1) hazard identification; (2) risk assessment; (3) personal protection; (4) administrativecontrols; (5) engineering controls; and (6) elimination of the hazard. Analysis used basic descriptivestatistics and logistic regression to examine associations of interest. When four of the six HOC stepswere adhered to, there was a significant protective effect: odds ratio (OR) = 0.32 (95% confidenceinterval [CI]: 0.14–0.74) for any injury and OR = 0.27 (95% CI: 0.07–0.99) for serious injury in theoverall study population. For farm owner-operators utilizing four of the six steps in the modified HOC,there was a significant protective effect for any injury (OR = 0.30, 95% CI: 0.11–0.83). Although thereis a considerable absence of use of elements of the HOC among farm operators, for farmers who adhereto these steps, there is a significant reduction in their risk for injury. Prevention strategies that embracethe practice of these principles may be effective in the control of farm workplace injury.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-369
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Agromedicine: interface of human health and agriculture
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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