Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of an agricultural health and safety program in reducing risks of injury.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Setting: 50 rural municipalities in the Province of Saskatchewan, Canada.
Intervention: The Agricultural Health and Safety Network (AHSN), a mainly educational program that administered 112 farm safety interventions over 19 years.
Subjects: 5292 farm people associated with 2392 Saskatchewan farms. Farms and associated farm people were categorized into three groups according to years of participation in the AHSN.
Main measures: Impact: self-reported prevalence of: (1) farm safety practices; (2) physical farm hazards. Outcome: (1) self-reported agricultural injuries.
Results: After adjustment for group imbalances and clustering at the rural municipality level, the prevalence of all impact and outcome measures was not significantly different on farms grouped according to years of AHSN participation. To illustrate, the adjusted relative risk of reporting no rollover protection on tractors among farms with none (0 years) versus high (>8 years) levels of AHSN participation was 0.95 (95% CI 0.69 to 1.30). The adjusted relative risk for agricultural injuries (all types) reported for the year before the survey was 0.99 (95% CI 0.74 to 1.32).
Conclusions: Educational interventions delivered via the AHSN program were not associated with observable differences in farm safety practices, physical farm hazards, or farm-related injury outcomes. There is a need for the agricultural sector to extend the scope of its injury prevention initiatives to include the full public health model of education, engineering, and regulation.
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LMH and WP contributed equally to this paper
Funding: This study was supported financially by a research agreement with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Operating Grant: 200503MOP-145294-PUB-CCAA-56847) and a pilot study grant from the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture (also funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Operating Grant: CDA-66151). LD is supported by a research fellowship (ID 236880) from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.
Competing interests: None.