Heather Barr

Project title: Characterizing the Performance of the 'Smart' Tripod Orchard Ladder

Degree: MS | Program: Environmental Health (EH) | Project type: Thesis/Dissertation
Completed in: 2005


The agricultural industry is recognized as having injury prone occupations. In the United States this industry consistently demonstrates one of the highest occupational injury and death rates when compared to all other major industries (CDC MMWR 2001; Bureau of Labor Statistics 2003; National Safety Council 2000). According to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 39.3 deaths per 100,000 workers occurred among farmers and ranchers in 2003 (U.S. Department of Labor 2004). The National Safety Council estimates that 120,000 agricultural workers experience disabling occupational injuries each year, and that another 700 workers die from work-related accidents and injuries (National Safety Council 2000). Due to their hazardous work environment, agricultural workers are at an increased risk for fatal injury, sprains and strains, fractures, dislocations, concussions, and amputations (McCurdy and Carroll 2000).

A variety of hazards that have the potential to cause injury can be found in the agricultural industry. The workers are exposed to physical, chemical, biological, psychological, and biomechanical hazards throughout their workdays. An analysis conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in 1998 concluded that the most prevalent sources for occupational injury in agriculture resulted from physical hazards associated with livestock, machinery, and falls (Myers 1998).

Taken from the beginning of thesis.