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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Occupational Injuries in Swedish Agriculture: Development and Preventive Actions

Pinzke, S.; Svennefelt, C. Alwall; Lundqvist, P.


A comprehensive survey of injuries in Swedish agriculture was completed in 2013. The aim was to update the statistics on injuries and to compare them with data for 2004. The results were intended to provide a basis for evaluating the effect of Swedish initiatives to reduce occupational injuries in agriculture. In 2013, there were about 63,000 active farms in Sweden, and questionnaires with 21 questions were sent out to a sample of 6000 of these farms. The most important question was whether any injuries had occurred during 2013. Farms that reported injuries were contacted by telephone with additional questions about the injuries. A total of 3375 farms (56%) responded to the questionnaire. After population-level extrapolation, there were approximately 4400 injuries in Swedish agriculture during 2013 (66% in farming, 18% in mixed farming-forestry, and 14% in other related business activities). According to official statistics, there were only about 344 registered occupational injuries, which means that only 7% of the injuries reported in the questionnaire responses were listed in official statistics. In all, at least one injury occurred on about 7% of all enterprises with farming or combined farming-forestry. About 70% of the affected farms had animals, and 17% of all dairy farms had one or more injuries during 2013. According to this study, the overall number of injuries on farms had fallen by about 12% in 2013 compared with the corresponding study in 2004. Taking into account the reduced labor demand in agriculture and the decline in the number of farms since 2004, the rate of injury has not been reduced. To reduce occupational injuries in agriculture, in recent years the industry and government have been working intensively on work environment advice and training for farmers. Our study showed that farmers who received work environment advice and training introduced more measures to prevent injuries than those without any advisory input. It is alarming that despite all efforts to reduce injuries in agriculture, the level is still very high compared with other industries. Safety campaigns and more permanent safety initiatives in agriculture are needed to raise awareness of occupational risk factors and encourage safe behaviors.


Agriculture; Extension; Farming; Injury prevention; Injury statistics; Occupational injuries

Published in

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
2018, Volume: 24, number: 4, pages: 193-211