National Land-Grant Research and Extension Agenda for Agricultural Safety and Health: National Agenda for Action

Use the following format to cite this article:

National land-grant research and extension agenda for agricultural safety and health: National agenda for action. (2012) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://www.extension.org/pages/63380/national-land-grant-research-and-ex….

 

The North Central Regional (NCR) 197 committee was established in 2000 by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, to utilize the land-grant research and extension systems, in conjunction with agricultural producers, to reduce agricultural work-related property losses, injuries, illnesses, and deaths. The NCR 197 committee was reappointed and renamed the North Central Education/Extension Research Activity (NCERA) 197 in 2005 and reappointed again in 2011.

The original NCR 197 committee developed the National Land-Grant Research and Extension Agenda for Agricultural Safety and Health: National Agenda for Action, a prioritized list of 12 major issues in agricultural safety and health research and extension. This article outlines the 12 prioritized areas that the NCR 197 committee identified and the NCERA 197 committee continues to address:

  • Sensors and guarding systems
  • Operation of agricultural equipment on public roads
  • Agricultural confined spaces
  • Emerging technologies
  • Human factors in engineering and design
  • Management of agricultural emergencies
  • Livestock handling and housing systems
  • Public policy issues
  • Capital- and management-intensive operations vs. family-labor-intensive operations
  • Fire detection and suppression
  • Agricultural safety education and training
  • Special populations and enterprises

Sensors and Guarding Systems

The National Agenda for Action points out that the majority of agricultural-related injuries and fatalities are due to tractor overturns, incidents involving machinery and equipment, and exposure to toxic environments. Emerging sensor technology needs to be adapted to agricultural workplaces to identify, monitor, and provide warnings about hazards. Examples of sensors and guarding systems include:

  • enhanced rollover protective structures (ROPSs),
  • stability indicators,
  • lockout systems,
  • machine guarding,
  • environment monitors, and
  • global positioning systems (GPSs).

Operation of Agricultural Equipment on Public Roads

Public roads are one of the NCERA 197 committee’s priorities because of the potential for deadly encounters between motor vehicles and agricultural equipment. Areas requiring continued research and education include:

  • high-speed agricultural equipment, 
  • lighting and marking of equipment,
  • rural road design,
  • specialized vehicles (such as horse-drawn buggies), and
  • hazardous material transportation.

Agricultural Confined Spaces

Confined spaces in production agriculture, such as manure storage areas and fuel storage areas, which continue to increase in scale and use, are accompanied by their own set of safety concerns. The National Agenda for Action calls for a focus on confined spaces that includes:

  • rescue procedures,
  • facility design,
  • fall protection systems,
  • safe entry procedures,
  • gas monitoring,
  • warning systems, and
  • ventilation systems.

Emerging Technologies

Changes in technology regarding production and efficiency are inevitable, but the potential hazards introduced by such changes need to be examined to develop the most useful and safest product designs. The National Agenda for Action recommends that attention should be given to technologies involving:

  • automatic pilot,
  • biosensors,
  • genetically modified organisms (GMOs),
  • high-speed equipment,
  • sludge application,
  • driverless tractors, and
  • GPSs.

Human Factors in Engineering and Design

An agricultural operation could not survive without its workforce, so the National Agenda for Action emphasizes the importance of examining workplace safety and working conditions. Potential research areas include, but are not limited to:

  • accommodations for disabilities,
  • gender issues,
  • effects of long-term exposure to vibration and weather,
  • musculoskeletal disorders, and
  • the prevention of secondary injuries.

Management of Agricultural Emergencies

Land-grant institutions continue to play a vital role in the development of resources and training for emergency preparedness for all types of emergencies in rural communities. The National Agenda for Action calls for continued attention to such topics as:

  • decontamination,
  • severe-weather preparedness,
  • responses to agroterrorism and chemical spills, and
  • rural fire prevention and response.

Livestock Handling and Housing Systems

Most agricultural operations have livestock, and the National Agenda for Action notes that focus must be maintained on production practices and their effects on both livestock and humans to reflect the growth in livestock processes and facilities. Potential areas of research include:

  • ventilation,
  • livestock-handling equipment,
  • sanitation,
  • zoonotic diseases, and
  • human-and-animal interactions.

Public Policy Issues

Farms and ranches are exempt from some worker safety and health regulations that apply to other workplaces. The NCERA 197 committee will consider how public policy issues relate to youth workers, uninsured workers, and agricultural operations that now employ larger numbers of people. Examples of public policy issues to be addressed include:

  • funding for safety initiatives,
  • liability issues,
  • rural-to-urban interfaces, and
  • workers’ compensation.

Capital- and Management-Intensive Operations vs. Family-Labor-Intensive Operations

The differences between large corporate farms and family farms continue to pose challenges to research and delivery methods for agricultural safety and health information and training. The Cooperative Extension System continues to bring research-based information from the institution level to the producer level; however, the NCERA 197 committee asserts that delivery and dissemination models require further examination. Some areas that require focus include:

  • the design of small-scale equipment,
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and exemptions,
  • effects of safety management practices on profitability,
  • labor issues,
  • health care, and
  • disability benefits.

Fire Detection and Suppression

Fires can be devastating for agricultural operations because of the presence of livestock and costly equipment and the distance from local fire protection services. Early detection of fires and preparedness are vital to reducing the financial and human loss associated with a fire. The National Agenda for Action defines the following priority areas:

  • electrical standards,
  • extinguishing agents,
  • fire detection and monitoring, and
  • training of rural firefighters.

Agricultural Safety Education and Training

Land-grant institutions provide essential safety and health education through the county extension system. The research-based information and programs developed and evaluated at land-grant institutions are delivered through the Cooperative Extension System in effective formats to families, youths, and producers. Potential research topics identified by the National Agenda for Action include:

  • the development and testing of risk assessment tools,
  • evaluation of teaching methodologies (computer, Web-based, and so on),
  • the needs of special populations, and
  • evaluation of the effectiveness of safety and training curricula.

Special Populations and Enterprises

The farm or ranch workforce, including owners, operators, and workers, continues to diversify in terms of culture, ethnicity, age, gender, and level of education. Due to this diversity, a single approach to education is not feasible. The land-grant institutions continue to explore teaching-delivery systems that will address the needs of a diverse workforce. The NCERA 197 committee notes that further research is needed to: 

  • develop and test culturally sensitive safety and health resources, 
  • understand how gender affects safety, and 
  • address the issues of low literacy rates, secondary injuries, and injuries to youth.

Resources

Click HERE to view the National Agenda for Action for complete details about the 12 priority areas of the committee.

Click HERE to access Special Issue – November/December 2017, Resource engineering and technology for a sustainable world. Safety, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers magazine. Link: https://www.asabe.org/Portals/0/aPubs/Resource/PDF/Resource24-06NovDec20….

 

Use the following format to cite this article:

National land-grant research and extension agenda for agricultural safety and health: National agenda for action. (2012) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://www.extension.org/pages/63380/national-land-grant-research-and-ex….

 

Citations:

National land-grant research and extension agenda for agricultural safety and health: National agenda for action. (2003) NCR 197 Committee on Agricultural Safety and Health Research and Extension. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/sites/default/files/National%20Land%20Gran….

 
Reviewed and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University – djm13@psu.edu
Michael Pate, Utah State University  michael.pate@usu.edu
Aaron Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu

NCERA 197: Agricultural Safety and Health Research and Extension

Use the following format to cite this article:

NCERA 197: Agricultural safety and health research and extension. (2012) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://www.extension.org/pages/63381/ncera-197:-agricultural-safety-and-….

 

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing continue to have a work-related death rate that is eight times higher than the all-industry average (National Safety Council, 2009). Production agriculture accounted for more than 75% of the work-related deaths within the agriculture, forestry, and fishing category in 2007 (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009). Injuries and fatalities continue among children, youths, and seniors—age groups that are generally not part of other industries. 

A committee called the North Central Education/Extension Research Activity (NCERA) 197 was founded in 2000 to develop strategies to use the land-grant system’s research and extension capacity and the experience of agricultural producers to reduce work-related injuries, illness, and death. The NCERA 197 committee created the National Land-Grant Research and Extension Agenda for Agricultural Safety and Health: National Agenda for Action, a document that prioritized 12 areas with 115 individual topics relating to agricultural safety and health in which research or extension gaps exist (Committee on Agricultural Safety and Health Research and Extension, 2003). The National Agenda for Action was the first agricultural safety and health agenda by the land-grant system since 1943, and it has been used by the Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing (AgFF) Sector Council of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) as a resource document for its National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) plans and by the Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America (ASHCA). The Canadian government has also used this document as the foundation for its agricultural safety strategic plan.

The NCERA 197 committee was reappointed in 2005—when it was renamed from NCR 197 to NCERA 197—and again in 2011. After the completion of the national agenda, the committee focused efforts on the development of a white paper concerning agricultural equipment on public roads. This effort was designed to do the following:

1. Identify research, policy, and extension and outreach priorities for these agencies:

  • federal departments of Agriculture and Transportation; 
  • NIOSH; 
  • state departments of agriculture, transportation, and law enforcement; 
  • county governments; and
  • organizations related to production agriculture. 

2. Identify possible design and practice standards, goals, or guidelines for farm equipment manufacturers, standard-setting organizations, and government agencies (Committee on Agricultural Safety and Health Research and Extension, 2009).

Click here to be linked to the NCERA 197 committee’s white paper titled Agricultural Equipment on Public Roads.

Ag Equip on Public Roads Publication Cover

The second priority area for the NCERA 197 committee is agricultural confined spaces. Click here to be linked to the Research and Extension Agenda for Agricultural Confined Spaces.  The NCERA 197 committee will investigate gaps in extension  and research regarding engineering, educational, and legislative controls designed to reduce the frequency and severity of incidents involving confined spaces in agricultural workplaces. The NCERA 197 committee plans to complete the following activities:

  1. Summarize the research literature, engineering needs, and outreach opportunities related to agricultural confined space hazards;
  2. Convene a national conference on this topic;
  3. Encourage additional research and outreach by land-grant universities to reduce hazards of agricultural confined space; and
  4. Encourage increased standards activity by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) to reduce hazards of agricultural confined spaces.

Ag Confined Space Publication Cover

The NCERA 197 committee will identify additional topics on the basis of the National Land-Grant Research and Extension Agenda for Agricultural Safety and Health: National Agenda for Action document. The committee members will partner with land-grant universities to increase infrastructure support for agricultural safety and health at land-grant universities.

Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health

The NCERA 197 committee was instrumental in developing the Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice (CoP). FReSH is designed to provide agricultural safety and health information in a user-friendly format to agricultural producers through peer-reviewed article summaries, frequently asked questions, and “ask the expert” opportunities. Click here to be directed to the FReSH CoP.

Resources

Click here to be directed to a summary of the National Land-Grant Research and Extension Agenda for Agricultural Safety and Health: National Agenda for Action.

Click here to open the NCERA197 Impact Summary (2010-2015),

 

 

Use the following format to cite this article:

NCERA 197: Agricultural safety and health research and extension. (2012) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://www.extension.org/pages/63381/ncera-197:-agricultural-safety-and-….

 

 

Sources

Agricultural equipment on public roads. (2009) North Central Education/Extension Research Activity Committee (NCERA) 197, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. Retrieved from http://nasdonline.org/static_content/documents/2065/d001906.pdf.

Census of fatal occupational injuries (CFOI) – Current and revised data, 2007 census of fatal occupational injuries (revised data). (2009) U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm.

Injury facts. (2009 edition) National Safety Council (NSC). Itasca, IL.

National land grant research and extension agenda for agricultural safety and health. (2014) NCR-197 Committee on Agricultural Safety and Health Research and Extension. Retrieved from http://extension.psu.edu/business/ag-safety/youth-safety/national-safe-t….

 

Reviewed and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University – djm13@psu.edu
Aaron Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu