A retrospective review of farm injuries presenting to an Irish
hospital emergency department in 2013
Received: 3 October 2016 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published online: 8 February 2017
Ó Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2017
Background The agricultural and equestrian businesses are
an important source of employment in the Midlands. This
is a retrospective study examining the demographics,
characteristics, and outcomes of agricultural and equestrian
related injuries presenting to the Midland Regional
Hospital, Tullamore, Co. Offaly. There were a total of
30,700 attendances to the Emergency Department for 2013.
Aims This study is an epidemiological review of agricul-
tural injuries, their mechanisms, and consequences pre-
senting to a rural regional hospital over a 1 year period.
Methods Every presentation to the Accident and Emer-
gency Department at the Midlands Regional Hospital in
2013 was assessed retrospectively to determine if an injury
had been sustained in an agricultural environment. Patient
demographics, month of occurrence, mechanism of injury,
radiology results, management, and follow-up data were
collected and analysed using Microsoft Excel.
Results There were 144 agricultural-related presentations
to the Accident and Emergency Department. 23% of the
agricultural injuries were identiﬁed as having a radiological
abnormality. There were signiﬁcantly more males involved
in agricultural injuries than females (97 vs 3%). 16% of
presentations required admission or transfer to tertiary
specialist care and 8% required surgical intervention.
Farming machinery accidents contributed to more admis-
sions than any other cause in the agricultural category and
resulted in more surgical interventions.
Conclusion Our study has identiﬁed high-risk mechanisms
of injury, which should alert clinicians to the potential for
signiﬁcant injury. In addition, our ﬁndings could be used to
help policy makers promote safety and awareness through
public health policies that target high-risk practices with
appropriate training and legislation.
Keywords Agricultural injuries Á Accident and
emergency Á Trauma Á Surgery Á Epidemiology Á Public
health Á Rural hospital Á Farm accident
The agricultural industry is an important source of
employment in Ireland. The 2010 Census of Agriculture
estimated that there are over 139,000 active farms in Ire-
land, with almost 13,000 of these in the Midland region
supported by the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore .
Farmers often work in isolation and their work exposes
them to a wide range of hazardous situations, including
weather conditions, unpredictable animals, heavy machin-
ery, chemicals, and, in some cases, sub-optimal infras-
tructure. Family homes are often located on farms putting
children at a signiﬁcant risk of harm, as a farm can look
like an attractive playground, and children are unaware of
the potential dangers.
Teagasc research suggests a 35% increase in non-fatal
farm injuries over a 5 year period up until 2011 . The
rate of non-fatal injuries was estimated to be 2459 per
100,000 . 21 fatalities were attributed to the Agricul-
tural, Forestry and Fisheries in 2013, which represented
45% of Irish workplace fatalities . There is a paucity of
data relating to non-fatal agricultural injuries, with only an
average of just over 100 injuries reported to the health and
& P. Carroll
Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore, Tullamore,
County Offaly, Ireland
Ir J Med Sci (2017) 186:781–784