Defining farm-safety research priorities and adjusting farm insurance premiums by a risk analysis approach

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Virginia Tech

A risk analysis approach for farm work-related injuries was proposed. For this study, risk is defined as the Expected Injury Cost (EIC) index per farm worker per year. Four steps are involved in the risk assessment analysis of farm injuries: (1) determination of risk factors, (2) injury severity classification, (3) cost estimation, and (4) risk characterization. Farm variables were examined to determine their influences on the rates of occurrence as well as the severity of injuries. Farm injuries were correlated with the risk factors of employment status, gender of farm worker, age of farm worker, hours of exposure, type of agricultural operation, and various hazardous conditions on a farm. By combining the probability of injuries due to a particular risk factor with the estimated costs of injuries, the EIC indices were derived for farm workers and activities.

Agricultural safety education and research priorities were defined based upon the risk model developed in this study. A sensitivity analysis was conducted to determine the impact of the assumptions on the research priorities established. It was found that the research priorities were not affected by the uncertainty on the magnitude of injury costs and other variables used in this study.

The risk-based approach can also provide input to farm insurance ratings. By combining the EIC index for each worker with the number of workers employed on a farm, a composite risk factor could be obtained for the farm enterprise. This composite risk factor can be used as a basis for adjusting farm insurance premiums. Adjustment of insurance premiums or related benefits could be used as an economic incentive to encourage adoption of safer farming practices so that preventable farm accidents and human suffering can be reduced. Other potential applications of the risk model presented in this study include safety management and loss control for a farm enterprise, and serving as a guide for the systematic collection of farm injury data.