Major Projects: Vineyard


Vineyard picture.

Man shown training grape vine.

The California vineyard industry employs more than 31,000 workers per year. According to AgSafe (1992) if experienced an average of 9 fatalities and 3654 reported non-fatal disabling injuries per year in the 1981-1990. AgSafe (1992), which studied the l argest database, estimated that 42% of 3654 reported non-fatal disabling injuries in vineyard work were sprains and strains, of which 41% were said to be back injuries. Reported causes emphasized overexertion at about 23% and being stuck by something at about 27%. An analysis of five years of injury data (1985-1990) from California vineyards (Meyers and Steinke, unpublished) reveals a similar pattern. This analysis also suggested that 30% of all reported injuries occurred within an employee’s first six months and 59% occurred in an employee’s first two years.

The AgSafe report notes that with respect to figures for incidence and rates, the data are uncertain for a number of reasons and should be considered an underestimate. Workers advocates suggest that true incidence is more likely twice that reported by Ag Safe.


One type of shovel work, here shown<BR>in establishing a new vineyard.

One type of shovel work, here shown
in establishing a new vineyard.

The Vineyard Project is in its first year, and the research team is pleased with the cooperation provided by the participating vineyards. Work to date consists of injury report reviews, job risk factor analyses, and video and photographic documentation o f field practices. The injury reports and job analyses are leading the team to focus primarily on harvest, pruning, and shovel work tasks. Here is a selection of photographs taken this past year. Additional graphics, including video clips and selected charts, are planned for the near future.

Shown here are a variety of additional tools and systems developed in this project, most of which are currently undergoing extended trials.

Pruning thin branches with clippers.

Pruning thin branches with clippers.


Pruning thick branches with loppers.

Pruning thick branches with loppers.

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