Farm workers electrocuted when irrigation pipes contact powerlines.
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Farm workers electrocuted when irrigation pipes contact powerlines.

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    Public Health Rep
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    For accidental electrocutions in Washington State from 1950 to 1979, the standardized proportionate mortality ratio for farmers compared with the general population was found to be 226 in a recent report. This excess mortality rate in Washington State was investigated by the authors, who reviewed death certificates and associated local newspaper reports of all farmers killed by electrocution during 1950-79 and of all persons killed by electrocution during 1970-79. Selected employers, next of kin, and public utility personnel were also interviewed. In Washington State 42 farmers were electrocuted during the years 1950-79; 23 of them were killed while working near irrigation pipes that came into contact with overhead electrical lines. During 1970-79 there were 15 irrigation pipe-associated (IPA) electrocutions among farmers and 15 among farm workers. The average age of farmers who suffered IPA electrocutions, 33.2 years, was less than the average age of farmers whose electrocutions were not associated with irrigation pipes, 48.9 years. Among persons less than 20 years old, IPA electrocutions were more common than any other type of electrocutions. During the months of April through September, 93 percent of the IPA electrocutions occurred as compared with only 61 percent of other types of electrocution. Among measures for the prevention of these electrocutions are education of the population at risk and changes in methods of irrigation.
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