Approximately 20% of the U.S. population, or 53 million Americans, reside in rural areas, but as with many issues in rural health, there is little published information in occupational safety and health specifically for rural residents. In Colorado, between 1982 and 1987, 16% of the total workforce was employed in rural counties (Colorado Department of Health, 1990). The majority of rural residents who do not commute to urban areas are likely to work in the production of goods and they are often self-employed. Because small businesses are primary employers in rural areas, information is not readily available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which focuses largely on businesses that employ 11 or more workers who are 14 years of age or older (Pratt, 1990). The most extensive work on occupational safety and health in rural areas has been done among agricultural workers (Donham et al, 1997), including migrant and seasonal workers, yet this group makes up only about 2% to 5% of the total population and a small percentage of all rural workers.
KeywordsRural Resident Personal Protective Equipment Farm Operator Rural Worker Safety Data Sheet
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