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Journal article

Estimating the occupational morbidity for migrant and seasonal farmworkers in New York State: A comparison of two methods




G. B. Earle-Richardson, M.A. Brower, and A.M. Jones


PURPOSE: Compare occupational morbidity estimates for migrant and seasonal farmworkers obtained from survey methods versus chart review methods and estimate the proportion of morbidity treated at federally recognized migrant health centers (MHCs) in a highly agricultural region of New York.
METHODS: We simultaneously conducted 1) an occupational injury and illness survey among agricultural workers, 2) MHC chart reviews, and 3) hospital emergency room (ER) chart reviews.
RESULTS: Of the 24 injuries reported by 550 survey subjects, 54.2% received treatment at MHCs, 16.7% at ERs, 16.7% at some other facility, and 12.5% were untreated. For injuries treated at MHCs or ERs, the incidence density based on survey methods was 29.3 injuries per 10,000 worker-weeks versus 27.4 by chart review. The standardized morbidity ratio for this comparison was 1.07 (95% confidence intervals = 0.65-1.77).
CONCLUSIONS: Survey data indicated that 71% of agricultural injury and illness can be captured with MHC and ER chart review. MHC and ER incidence density estimates show strong correspondence between the two methods. A chart review-based surveillance system, in conjunction with a correction factor based on periodic worker surveys, would provide a cost-effective estimate of the occupational illness and injury rate in this population. [References: 20]

Journal title

Annals of Epidemiology





Page numbers



Economic sectors

Agriculture and horticulture workers

Content types

Statistics on work and life conditions

Target groups


Geographical focuses

United States

Spheres of activity

Health sciences