Estimating the number of agricultural fatal injuries prevented by agricultural engineering developments in the United States

Salah F. Issa, Kiana Patrick, Steven Thomson, Bradley Rein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Agriculture has been consistently marked as one of the deadliest industries by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While this statistic is widely used in promoting agricultural safety and health, it does not paint a complete picture on the current status of agricultural safety and the advances that have been made in the last century. For example, even with a stagnant rate of injury, the BLS has reported that fatal incidents decreased from a high of 855 incidents in 1993 to a low of 500 incidents in 2013. The purpose of this study was to analyze the impact that agricultural engineering developments had on reducing fatal injuries. Agricultural engineering developments are defined as any agricultural improvement that results in a direct reduction in the amount of labor needed. This study uses existing federal agricultural statistical, injury and demographic data to calculate the impact that engineering, in contrast to yield improvements and safety enhancements, contributed to a reduction in the number of fatal incidents. The study found that engineering developments could have contributed to the reduction in the number of fatal injuries by about 170 incidents from 1992 to 2015. This represents 63% of the total reduction in the number of fatal injuries. In conclusion, agricultural engineering developments play a substantial role in reducing the number of fatal incidents by removing and reducing labor exposure to hazardous environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbersafety5040063
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Agricultural engineering
  • Agricultural productivity
  • Agricultural safety
  • Engineering
  • Fatal injuries
  • Fatal injury rates
  • Injury prevention
  • Labor efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Safety Research

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