Analysis of injuries and causes of death in fatal farm-related incidents in Lower Silesia, Poland

Marta Rorat 1,  
Department of Forensic Medicine, Wroclaw Medical University, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med 2015;22(2):271–274
Introduction. Workers in the agriculture sector are among the groups at the highest risk of fatal occupational injuries. The aim of study is to show the most common causes of farm-related deaths in Poland, with the circumstances, injuries sustained and mechanisms of death. Materials and methods. There were 109 (90.8%) males aged 19–81 and 11 females aged 19–73. 18.3% were over 60 years of age. There were 6 children (boys) aged between 2–6. A retrospective review was undertaken of 16,140 medico-legal autopsy reports by the Department of Forensic Medicine in Wroclaw between 1991–2011, which included 120 fatal farm-related incidents. The study protocol included gender, age, date and cause of death, all injuries found, circumstances and mechanism of death, place of death and blood alcohol concentration. Results. The most common (33/120; 27.5%) causes of death, both in men and women, were traffic accidents, the second being hit, crushed or buried by materials and falling objects. The most common injury was multi-organ damage (27/120; 22.5%), less common were cranio-cerebral injury (17/120; 14.2%) and thoracic blunt trauma (11/120; 9.2%). In multi-organ and thoracic traumas the mechanism of death was almost always exsanguinations. 85.3% of victims died at the place found. 37.2% of victims were drunk. Conclusion. In Poland, fatal injuries occurring in agriculture are mostly related to the misuse of transport and machinery. The main efforts to prevent accidents are engineering improvements, use of personal protective equipment, alcohol intake prevention and appropriate education of the workforce. Special prevention programmes should take gender and age differences into account.