Older farmers at high risk for injury: study

Edmonton, Alberta – Older farmers work fewer hours than younger farmers but use heavy machinery more often, putting them at risk for injury, according to a new study from the University of Alberta.

A survey of 2,751 Canadian farmers showed older farmers do less physically demanding work with age, instead spending more time operating tractors and combines. Although overall work hours declined with age, the proportion of time using heavy machinery increased by roughly 40 percent, the study abstract stated.

The study found farmers age 75 and older worked 34 hours a week, while farmers 65 to 74 worked a median of 46 hours – one hour less than farmers who were 40 years younger than them. Researchers concluded that exposure to dangerous farm equipment does not decrease with age as would be expected, so prevention efforts should focus on safely operating machinery.

The study was published in the November issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

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