Machinery evaluation in a case-control study of farm machinery injuries in the prairie region of Canada
Ingram, Mark William Emilien
Injury rates among farmers are one of the highest in all occupations. Farm machinery accounts for a majority of these injuries. In order to reduce these injuries, the root causes of the injury events need to be found. The person involved, the machine involved, and the environment are all factors that influence an injury event. As part of a case-control study of farm machinery injuries, this thesis describes the accounts of conducting on-site investigations of machinery from an engineering perspective. This thesis focused on the machinery factors that were involved in the injury events. The thesis focused on three aspects of the machinery, namely its age, its state of repair or maintenance, and its conformance to safety standards. On-site inspections were conducted on 24 case (involved in an injury event) machines and 15 matching control (not involved in an injury event) machines. There were 15 different types of machinery inspected, ranging from air seeders, augers and combines to front-end-loaders, mix-mills and water pumps. The small sample size was one reason that the analysis did not provide any statistically significant results. The analysis showed no significant difference between the case and control machinery. The on-site machinery inspections were valuable in understanding the injury event. They were also valuable in determining the root causes of the injury events. The standards, to which the machinery was compared, were generally sufficient in defining the safety requirements of machinery. However, one simple addition that could be considered by the safety standards organizations and subsequently by the machinery manufacturers, was supplying machinery with a system that would reduce the possibility of a tank or hopper lid closing unexpectedly.