Studies may be underreporting farm injuries

Press Release                                             

University of Iowa College of Public Health

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 12, 2019

CONTACT: Jenn Patterson, MLitt, GPCAH Communications Coordinator,, 319-335-4026

Studies may be underreporting farm injuries

This first-of-its-kind study states that relying on workers’ compensation data alone might lead to inaccurate results such as incorrect injury counts and unreported farmer injuries.

University of Iowa College of Public Health researchers have determined workers’ compensation records alone are not enough when it comes to identifying work-related farm injuries. The article, published online in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine in June 2019, is unexpected because researchers commonly use workers’ compensation information to determine the number and type of incidents occurring within a certain occupation. However, researchers have found that this resource does not include the majority of farming-related injuries in Iowa.

Principal Investigator Corinne Peek-Asa, PhD, says this is important for advancing scientific knowledge because it contradicts the sole use of this commonly mined resource. If investigators are collecting and analyzing insufficient data, then their results could be biased and inaccurate. The study also justifies the need for researchers to use multiple sources for their work to glean a better picture of injuries occurring on the farm.

“These findings are important for researchers, but they are also important for insurance providers who might also underestimate workplace injury risk among their agricultural clients,” said Peek-Asa. “Agricultural clients are using other products, such as property or home insurance, to cover these costs.”

The research focused on data from Iowa that allowed the researcher to identify both farm-related and occupationally-related injuries. Each state has its own regulations when it comes to reporting workers’ compensation data.

Read the paper published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine at

This study is supported by the University of Iowa Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health and the University of Iowa Injury Research Center.

Contact information: Corinne Peek-Asa, PhD, Associate Dean for Research, College of Public Health, Professor, Occupational and Environmental Health, Director, Injury Prevention Research Center, University of Iowa,