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Socioeconomic Status and Injury in a Cohort of Saskatchewan Farmers


  • This work was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (MOP-145294 to W.P. and J.D.) and a Senior Research Fellowship (ID 236880 to L.D.) from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. We thank Iris Rugg, Kendra Ulmer, Leanne LaBrash, Deborah Emerton, Murray Purcell, Debra Gronning, Louise Singer, and Phyllis Snodgrass, as well as the farm families from Central Saskatchewan who took the time to assist us with this research. For further information, contact: Dr. William Pickett, PhD, Emergency Medicine Research, Queen's University, Angada 3, Kingston General Hospital, 76 Stuart St. Kingston, ON, Canada, K7L2V7; e-mail


Purpose: To estimate the strength of relationships between socioeconomic status and injury in a large Canadian farm population.

Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study of 4,769 people from 2,043 farms in Saskatchewan, Canada. Participants reported socioeconomic exposures in 2007 and were followed for the occurrence of injury through 2009 (27 months). The relative hazards of time to first injury according to baseline socioeconomic status were estimated via Cox proportional hazards models.

Findings: Risks for injury were not consistent with inverse socioeconomic gradients (adjusted HR 1.07; 95% CI: 0.76 to 1.51 for high vs low economic worry; adjusted HR 1.72; 95% CI: 1.23 to 2.42 for completed university education vs less than high school). Strong increases in the relative hazard for time to first injury were identified for longer work hours on the farm.

Conclusions: Socioeconomic factors have been cited as important risk factors for injury on farms. However, our findings suggest that interventions aimed at the prevention of farm injury are better focused on operational factors that increase risk, rather than economic factors per se.