Shovels: Background, Challenges and Recommendations

(Photo/video permission granted by Green Heron Tools for use with educational materials through FReSH)

Use the following format to cite this article:

Shovels: Background, challenges, and recommendations. (2017) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/pages/74544/shovels:-background-challenges….

A shovel is a tool used for digging and moving material (e.g., dirt, grain, etc.) from one place to another. Shoveling is a strenuous task that can place added stress on a person’s whole body but especially the spine.  When using a shovel, a person is lifting and twisting their body which can place a person at risk for disc compressions and strain injuries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 28,000 people received hospital treatment in 2009 for injuries (e.g., strains to back, shoulder, etc.) due to their use of unpowered garden tools (e.g., shovel, rake, etc.).

The standard shovel was not ergonomically designed but has evolved over the last century. Many shovels in use today by consumers were not chosen by them but given to them, inherited or that was the one available in the shed. However, shovels are not ‘one-size-fits-all’ tool especially for a female user. The following five things should be consider by a person when selecting a shovel:

  1. Weight – Obviously the higher the weight of the shovel and the load, the more strain it will place on a person’s body. However, a person needs to match the weight of the shovel with the type of job that they are doing. For example, the same shovel may not be appropriate to shovel snow in the winter and sand in the summer. The material that the shaft is made of can also impact the weight of the shovel.
  2. Type of Handle – Some shovels have long straight shafts while others have shorter shafts with D-shaped grips or handles. D-grips offer the benefit of allowing the user to keep her/his wrist in a neutral — unbent, untwisted — position. D-grips may also provide additional comfort and control, and oversized D-grips on some tools allow for two-handed digging.
  3. Length – A person needs to consider the length of the handle when choosing a shovel. If the tool is too long for the person then it may be harder for them to use and place them at risk for an injury.
  4. Blade size and shape – The shape and size of the shovel blade depends on the material that you are going to be moving. A larger blade is typically used with less dense material.
  5. Angle – An angled shaft can reduce the strain on a person’s spine.

The following tips are designed to reduce strain on a person’s body when using a shovel:

  • Choose the right tool for your body size and strength
  • Examine the tool to look for any signs of defect or damage. If damaged, do not use it.
  • Do some stretches prior to starting the job to loosen your muscles and increase your blood flow to your muscles.
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands and improve grip and wear sturdy, closed-toed footwear with good arch support.
  • Before your first scoop, decide how and where you will move the material.  
  • Examine your footing to make sure you have a solid place to put your feet and examine the area for obstacles (e.g., pipes, holes, etc.). Stand with your feet apart at a distance that is comfortable for you.  
  • Shoveling is not a race so pace yourself to do the job well without putting additional strain on your back. Take breaks!
  • Keep your back straight and bend your knees slightly so that you can use your leg strength to move the load and have your elbows close to your body. When you lift, straighten your knees so you are lifting with your leg strength instead of your back.
  • If digging with the shovel, use the ball of your foot to put leverage on the shovel blade and use your leg muscles to push down on the blade.
  • Material should not be thrown over three feet and it is a better practice to walk closer to where you need to dump it rather than throwing it. When you are throwing material, turn your feet in the direction of where you are throwing it. Never throw a shovel load over your shoulder.
  • In general, the maximum weight to shovel at a high rate (15 scoops per minute) shovels is approximately 10 – 15 pounds which includes the weight of the shovel and the load.  If a person is shoveling at a slower rate, the shovel and load combination weight could be up to 24 pounds. However, it is better to complete multiple load lifts at a lighter weight than to lift heavier loads less often.

Resources

Resources for Women Farmers and Gardeners by Green Heron Tools – http://www.greenherontools.com/resources.php

Sources

Hansson, P.A. & Oberg, K.E.T. (1996) Journal of Agriucltural Safety and Health 2(3): 127-142. Retrieved from http://nasdonline.org/2429/d001943/analysis-of-biomechanical-load-when-shoveling.html.

OSH answer fact sheets: Shoveling. (2011) Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Retrieved from https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/shovel.html.

Safety note #157: Safe use of rakes and shovels (2010) University of California Agriculture and National Resources. Retrieved from http://safety.ucanr.edu/files/57413.pdf.

Shoveling 101: usage & techniques. (n.d.) Green Heron Tools. Retrieved from http://www.greenherontools.com/using-tools_shoveling-101.php

 

Summarized and Reviewed by:
Ann Adams, Green Heron Tools
Liz Brensinger, Green Heron Tools
Linda Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu
Karen Funkenbusch, University of Missouri – FunkenbuschK@missouri.edu
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu

Women, Tools and Ergonomics

(Photo/video permission granted by Green Heron Tools for use with educational materials through FReSH)

Use the following format to cite this article:

Women, tools and ergonomics. (2017) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/pages/74543/women-tools-and-ergonomics.

 

According to the United States Department of Agriculture – Economic Research Service, the number of farms operated by women continues to grow. A snapshot of women-operated farms is typically small farms but often diversified. Some characteristics of principal women farm operators include older and more educated than their male counterparts but also rely more on off-farm work income. Women in agriculture have different challenges than their male counterparts but one area that is sometimes overlooked is tool selection.

The majority of tools were designed and manufactured for males. Therefore, they were designed for the height, strength and body type of a man. However, women have a difficult time using these tools because of their body and strength characteristics. Because women have 40-75% less upper-body and 5-30% less lower-body strength compared to men, tools for women need to be designed so they are able to utilize more of their lower-body strength.

Typically women are smaller in stature and have proportionally shorter legs and arms. For a woman to use a tool that is too long, it can require her to work harder, cause physical pain, and strain muscle because the tool is not the right size. Compare this to using a piece of equipment with an undersized tractor and the strain that it places on the tractor and places it at risk.  Another physical difference for women is that they have wider hips and more narrow shoulders. Women typically have more adipose (loose connective tissue) than men. The grip of a tool can be one of the biggest issues because women tend to have smaller grips. However, most tools were designed for men so the grips are too big for some women’s hands which may cause the tool to slip, strain muscles in the female’s hand, and place women at risk of an injury.

Women continually use tools that are not the optimal tool for them to complete tasks. These non-optimal tools can place women at risk for an injury. In the past, women did not have options when it came to choosing a tool but times are changing and the market for tools that are specifically designed for women is making an impact. Research by McCoy, Carruth, and Reed (McCoy, et al) recommended that engineering research should be utilized when designing machinery or equipment for women farmers. Yoder, Adams and Brensinger (Yoder et al) conducted online surveys and focus groups with women concerning tools and found that there was a consensus in the following feedback: tools were too long or heavy, mechanized equipment was difficult and heavy to control, unbalanced hand tools, and poorly located or sized handles or grips. Engineers affiliated with Penn State University and, later, the University of Nebraska worked with Green Heron Tools on the research and design of a line of tools for women.

Green Heron Tools was founded by two women with backgrounds in public health, nursing, research & education who were also small-scale farmers. Recognizing the links among tools and equipment and health and safety, they successfully applied for a USDA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to research the tool-related needs of women farmers. The company has since received three additional SBIR grants, including its current grant, focused on the design of equipment to assist with the lifting and carrying of heavy materials such as feed bags, hay bales and full buckets.

The 2016 i-Three Corp project between the Ag Safety and Health Community of Practice and Wearable Technology Learning Network worked with Green Heron Tools to look specifically at manure forks for women. Green Heron Tools developed a handle that is used on most of their tools that has been tested for ease of use. For the manure fork testing, the team used the Green Heron Tool handle but used different manure fork heads to test the design of the head portion of the tool. In the past, testing was completed using complex heart and breathing monitors to measure changes as a person used the prototype tool. The i-Three Corp project used wearable technology with a heart rate monitor linked to a mobile device to complete this round of testing. This configuration was easier for the testers to use and it was assumed that an increased heart rate during tool usage indicated it was more difficult to use the tool. A graduate student at the University of Missouri, Division of Food Systems and Bioengineering Department of Agricultural Systems Management Program is also testing the manure fork with women farmers and ranchers in Missouri.

The impact of this project was evidence-based tool development that is specifically designed and tested for women by women. Research data from this study will enable Green Heron Tools to complete the manure fork design and begin manufacturing.

Another project working with women, tools and ergonomics is the national Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program: 21st Century Management: Enhancing Educational Programming for Beginning Farm and Ranch Women. The Farm Safety, Mechanization, and Ergonomics team led by Karen Funkenbusch is made up of women from agriculture safety and health professionals, extension specialists, rural health care providers, and farmers and ranchers. Her team is collaboratively working with eXtension’s Farm & Ranch eXtenision in Safety and Health (FReSH) to collect practical resources for improving farm safety, mechanization, and ergonomic for educators and beginning women farmer’s and rancher’s and storing them in one central location on the eXtension FReSH website at www.extension.org/agsafety.

Resources

Ergonomics and Farming – California AgrAbility

Secondary Injury Prevention: Ergonomics on the Farm – Ohio State University

Sources

About green heron tools. (n.d.) Green Heron Tools. Retrieved from http://www.greenherontools.com/about.php.

Hoppe, R., & Penni Korb. Characteristics of women farm operators and their farms. , EIB-111, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, April 2013. Retrieved from https://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/pub-details/?pubid=43750.

Reed, D, McCoy, C.A., & Carruth, A.K. (2001) Women in agriculture: Risks for occupational injury. Retrieved from http://nasdonline.org/static_content/documents/1815/d001759.pdf.

Yoder, A.M., Adams, A.M., & Brensinger, E.A. (n.d.) Designing tools and agricultural equipment for women. University of Nebraska Medical Center. Retrieved from http://www.agrisk.umn.edu/conference/uploads/AYoder1540_01.pdf.

 

Summarized and Reviewed by:
Ann Adams, Green Heron Tools
Liz Brensinger, Green Heron Tools
Linda Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu
Karen Funkenbusch, University of Missouri – FunkenbuschK@missouri.edu
Aaron Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu

Women in Agriculture

Photo of a women practicing safe use of a shovel.
Photo permission from Green Heron Tools for use in Women in Agriculture educational articles on FReSH.

The Ag Safety and Health Community of Practice and the Enhancing Educational Programming for Beginning Farm and Ranch Women are working together to provide a one-stop for resources about agricultural safety, health and mechanization information specifically for women. New material, resources and links will be posted as available.

There are two new e-books for Women in Ag concerning animal handling. To access these resources, click on the links below:

Safe Beef Cattle Handling for Women

Safe Dairy Cattle Handling for Women

Additional resource articles and links:

Women, Tools and Ergonomics

Shovels: Background, Challenges and Recommendations

Women in Ag Learning Network: Resource Library

Women in Agriculture Initiative (USDA)

Women in Ag Landing Page (USDA)

Online Course(s): AgSafety4U

AgSafety4u is an online course designed for youth (ages 16 and up), new and beginning farmers, and for employers and employees of agricultural operations looking to enhance their knowledge and/or to provide professional development with a heavy emphasis on tractor and machinery.  Individuals who take this course and pass the online quizzes will be able to print a certificate of completion.

Project Funding Acknowledgement:
This material is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S.D.A., under award number 2014-68006-21873.
AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians Project is supported under USDA/NIFA Special Projects 2013-41590-21025 in collaboration with Penn State Extension.
The Missouri AgrAbility Project is supported by funds from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) under sponsored project number 2014-41590-22323.

 

SAY What? A New Source of Agricultural Safety Information for Youth

 

 

For media inquiries, please contact:
Dave Hill – SAY Project Manager
 

A new initiative provides one-stop shopping for agricultural educators who seek resources and training programs aimed toward youth.

The Safety in Agriculture for Youth (SAY) project homepage (http://extension.org/say) is an umbrella compilation that includes many different curricula, programs, projects, and activities that have a common purpose of increasing safety and health knowledge and reducing hazard and risk exposure to youth on farms and ranches.

For years, agricultural safety workers have been developing youth-oriented educational materials. Still, more than 2 million youth under the age of 20 are exposed to agriculture production related hazards in the United States, partly because these resources have not reached the hands of educators within the school systems and other agricultural youth educational settings such as 4-H .

All educational resources located on the SAY Clearinghouse are aligned to the 2015 Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (AFNR) standards.  The Clearinghouse also includes a search engine feature for users to search for a curriculum or resource by a specific topic. Beyond the search engine, users can navigate through the clearinghouse by clicking on different AFNR standards on the right side of the webpage to see all of the educational products which align to a particular standard.  Each educational resource has a page that provides a description, type of resource, language (English and/or Spanish), website link to resource, and alignment chart to AFNR standards. 

The AFNR Standards provide agricultural educators (both formal and informal) with a high-quality, rigorous set of standards to guide what youth should know and be able to do after completing a program or educational event. The SAY Clearinghouse lists formal curriculum and other educational resources. Formal curricula are those products that have stated objectives, educational materials that support those objectives and an evaluation component. Other educational resources lack one of the three components listed above, but still have an alignment to AFNR.

“We want these resources to be dispersed to high school students who are receiving formal agriculture classes within their school system, and we realized that if the agriculture teachers are going to use these resources, the resources need to be tied to the standards that the teachers use in the classroom,” said Dave Hill, SAY project manager.

Safety in Agriculture for Youth is a grant project funded by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute for Food and Agriculture to develop a sustainable and accessible national clearinghouse for agricultural safety and health curriculum for youth.

Belief Statements and Guiding Principles for Youth Working in Agriculture

The Safety in Agriculture for Youth (SAY) Project National Steering Committee developed a belief statements document regarding youth working in agriculture. The belief statements outline consensus-based beliefs and principles that promote safety and health for youth working in agriculture. Click HERE to view the formal PDF version of the belief statements.

To date, the belief statement has been endorsed by the following organizations:

  • Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America (ASHCA)
  • AgriSafe Network
  • American Association for Agricultural Education
  • American Farm Bureau Federation
  • Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)
  • CareerSafe Online
  • Carle Center for Rural Health and Farm Safety
  • Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CSCASH)
  • College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, Utah State University
  • Farm Safety 4 Just Kids
  • Grain Handling Safety Coalition
  • Great Plains Center for Agricultural Safety and Health
  • High Plains Intermountain Center for Agricultural Health and Safety
  • National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
  • National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety
  • National Council for Agricultural Education
  • National Council of Agricultural Employers
  • National FFA Organization
  • National Grange
  • New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH)
  • North Carolina Agromedicine Institute
  • Northeast Center for Occupational Safety and Health (NEC)
  • Ohio State Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Penn State Agricultural Safety and Health Program
  • Progressive Agriculture Foundation
  • Purdue University Agricultural Safety and Health Program
  • Southwest Center for Agricultural Health, Injury Prevention and Education
  • University of Illinois Extension Agricultural Safety Program
  • University of Missouri Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Program
  • Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH)

List updated June 11, 2018

If your state, multi-state, or national organization would like to endorse the belief statements, email Dr. Aida Balsano with copy to Dr. Aaron Yoder.

Belief Statements

  • Creating and promoting a culture of safety among youth working in agriculture is a primary goal for all stakeholders.
  • All youth working in agriculture deserve protection from workplace hazards and risks that may be associated with agricultural worksites.
  • Youth developmental principles are the basis for determining if and when a youth should participate in agricultural work.
  • Supervision of youth performing jobs or tasks should be guided by professionally recognized best practices based on developmental stages of growth.
  • Research and evaluation should guide development of safety and health best practice recommendations and guidelines.
  • Evidenced-based, culturally appropriate models should be utilized to educate about agricultural safety and health.
  • Hired youth working on farms subject to Occupational Safety and Health Act enforcement should be informed of applicable rights to a safe workplace, training, personal protective equipment, and to ask questions or raise concerns about their safety.

Guiding Principles for Practice

  • Parents, employers, agricultural educators, healthcare providers, and safety and health professionals play critical roles in designing and implementing youth agricultural safety education and training that is comprehensive, developmentally appropriate, accessible, and effective.
  • College and university agricultural science and education teacher preparation programs should include agricultural safety and health education that meets Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (AFNR) Career Cluster Content Standards and/or appropriate state standards.
  • Secondary school education and programs should include agricultural safety and health education that meets Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (AFNR) Career Cluster Content Standards and/or appropriate state standards.
  • Cooperative Extension education and programs should include agricultural safety and health education that is evidenced-based and meets appropriate state standards. Extension educators should consider developing safety and health educational curricula that align with AFNR Career Cluster Content Standards.
  • Agricultural worksite hazard assessment programs should be in place, including regularly updated safety checklists, injury prevention programs, and regular review of health and safety best practices.
  • Education and training for parents, employers, and other supervisors of youth workers should include instruction about:
    • Existing age-based work laws/regulations
    • Physical and cognitive abilities of youth
    • Need for appropriate supervision and training
    • Basic emergency response practices, both general and specific to the workplace
    • Basic hazard and risk reduction techniques such as the safety hierarchy, Job Safety Analysis, injury and near-injury investigations, and lockout/tagout.
  • Youth workers should receive basic training in proper body mechanics due to musculoskeletal changes from physiologic growth and development, and to protect against cumulative effects of exposure to hazards.
  • Youth should be encouraged to request help and/or additional training when taking on a new, unfamiliar task or experiencing difficulty with any specific task.
  • Parents should and employers must provide opportunities for youth to receive safety and health training specific to any job or task they are assigned to,   including but not limited to Job Instruction Training (JIT) and Tailgate Training techniques.
  • Parents with family farm youth workers should reference current safety and health regulations to better understand high risk activities and best safety practices.
  • Parents, employers, and other supervising adults are encouraged to help youth obtain safety training through nationally recognized educational curricula and supporting resources such as those listed in the SAY National Clearinghouse.
  • Parents, employers and other supervising adults should conduct a thorough assessment of weather, environmental, and equipment    conditions prior to assigning work to youth.
  • Parents should and employers must provide youth with appropriate personal protective equipment and training in its use and care as required by state and federal regulations.
  • Hired youth work assignments must be in compliance with state and federal work safety regulations including but not limited to U.S. Department of Labor Hazardous Occupations Orders in Agriculture (Ag HOs); Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) General Industry 1910 and Agriculture 1928 Standards; and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Worker Protection Standards (WPS) and Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA).

 

SAY National Steering Committee

Jim Armbruster, Senior Relations Manager, National FFA Organization
R. Kirby Barrick, Professor, University of Florida, American Association for Agricultural Education (AAAE)
Christy Bartley, Extension Assistant Director of Programs: 4-H Youth Development, Penn State University
Steve Brown, Educational Program Specialist, U.S. Department of Education
Linda Fetzer, SAY Communications Coordinator, Penn State University
William E. Field, Professor and Extension Safety Specialist, Purdue University
Frank Gasperini, President/CEO, Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America
Dee Jepsen, Associate Professor and Extension Safety Specialist, The Ohio State  University
Jill Kilanowski, Associate Dean, Mount Carmel College of Nursing, Columbus, Ohio
Barbara Lee, Director, National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety
Dennis Murphy, Professor Emeritus, Penn State University
Michael Pate, Nationwide Associate Professor of Ag Safety and Health, Penn State University
Susan Reynolds-Porter, Chief Executive Officer, Progressive Agriculture Foundation
Tony Small, Managing Director, The National Council for Agricultural Education
Marty Tatman, Director, Program Development, American Farm Bureau Federation
Larry Teverbaugh, Founder & CEO, CareerSafe Online
Aaron Yoder, Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center, NIOSH Ag Centers

 

Reviewed by:
Linda Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu
Dave Hill, Pennsylvania State University (Has since retired)
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University (Has since retired)

National Youth Farm and Ranch Safety Symposium

The National Youth Farm and Ranch Safety Symposium, an event funded as one objective of the Safety in Agriculture for Youth (SAY) project, provided an opportunity for interaction and discussion among stakeholder groups, educators, parents, and agricultural employers who provide or seek training opportunities for young workers. The overarching goal of the symposium was to bring together a diverse group of professionals to enhance awareness of, access to, and utilization of farm and ranch safety materials by youth and by adults who instruct or work with youth.

In a concise format, speakers presented a broad range of topics. Their purpose was to initiate constructive dialogue about ideas, resources, gaps, and best practices for safely involving youth on the farm or ranch, regardless of whether the youth are working for family operations or for general hire.

The symposium was held October 27–28, 2014, in Louisville, Kentucky. For a PDF of the symposium program, please click here.

This article identifies the keynote speakers and provides links to video clips from each of the four plenary sessions.

Plenary One: Current Regulations—the Good, the Bad, and the Opportunities

Brad Rein – National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA

Karen Garnett – U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division

Shari Burgus – Farm Safety for Just Kids

*Marilyn Adams – Farm Safety for Just Kids

Barbara Lee – National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety

Dawn Castillo – National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Aida Balsano – National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA

Plenary Two: Youth for Hire—Employment Options in Agriculture

Karen Garnett – U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division

Kristi Boswell – American Farm Bureau Federation

*Marty Tatman – American Farm Bureau Federation

Mike Honeycutt – National Council for Agricultural Education

Sydney Snider – Ohio FFA, State President

Amy Liebman – Migrant Clinicians Network

Frank Gasperini – National Council of Agricultural Employers

David Hard – National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

* Kitty Hendricks – National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Barbara Lee – National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety

Mary Miller – National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, Consultant

Plenary Three: When can I?Age versus Competence

David Schwebel – University of Alabama at Birmingham

Barbara Lee – National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety

Mike Honeycutt – National Council for Agricultural Education

Bill Field – Purdue University

Plenary Four: Making the Time to Teach Ag Safety and Health—Formal versus Nonformal (Education and Teaching Resources)

Kirby Barrick – American Association for Agricultural Education

Dennis Riethman – Former Vocational Agriculture Instructor

Lisa Lauxman – National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA

Aaron Yoder – NIOSH Ag Center, Central States

Shari Burgus – Farm Safety for Just Kids

Bernard Geschke – Progressive Agriculture Foundation

Mary Miller – National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, Consultant

 

Summarized by:
Kathy Mann, Ohio State University
 
Reviewed by:
Dave Hill, Penn State University – deh27@psu.edu
Dennis Murphy, Penn State University – djm13@psu.edu
Linda Fetzer, Penn State University – lmf8@psu.edu

 

 

 

Funding Resources for Assistive Technology for Farmers and Ranchers

Aftermarket Steps on Tractor

Aftermarket Steps on Tractor

Aftermarket steps can improve tractor accessibility.

(Source: AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians)

 
Use the following format to cite this article:
Funding resources for assistive technology for farmers and ranchers. (2015) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/pages/72916/funding-resources-for-assistiv….

 

Individuals can have difficulty locating and qualifying for funding for assistive technology. Farmers and ranchers with disabilities who seek assistive technology can face even more challenges because of their work statuses, their farm or ranch assets, and the types of accommodations they may need to continue working in production agriculture. Assistive technology for those involved in production agriculture may need to be more durable than that needed for people working in other occupations because of the type of work and the work environment. The table that follows provides information about possible funding resources for farmers and ranchers with disabilities.

Funding Source Information Example Notes

National AgrAbility Project

State and Regional AgrAbility Projects (SRAPs)

Currently, more than 20 SRAPs provide direct services to farmers and ranchers with disabilities for their agricultural operations. SRAPs can provide farmers and ranchers who have disabilities with information about modifications for their farm operations. SRAP staff members are knowledgeable about funding options for assistive technology and other opportunities within their state. If you are from a state that does not have a SRAP, contact the National AgrAbility Project.
State vocational rehabilitation agencies The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) of the US Department of Education provides funding to states to help individuals with disabilities obtain or retain employment. These federal dollars go to the vocational rehabilitation agency within a state. Services, including assistive technology, restoration services, and training, are provided to eligible individuals through an approved Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). Examples of available assistive technology include gators/utility vehicles, steps onto a tractor, air suspension seats for a tractor, automatic hitching systems, and hand controls on skid steers. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act puts an emphasis on transition for students with disabilities. There is also emphasis on serving individuals with the most significant disabilities.
US Department of Veteran Affairs Both the Veterans Health Administration and the Veterans Benefits Administration provide assistive technology to veterans. All veterans who have an honorable discharge are eligible for some services, whether the disability is service-related or not. The Veterans Health Administration can provide durable medical equipment, glasses, hearing aids, Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) benefits, and grants for veterans who are blind. The Veterans Benefits Administration can provide vehicles (including tractors), home adaptations, and Specially Adapted Housing grants. A veteran must be registered at his or her local Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Home and Community-Based Services Waivers programs The US Department of Health and Human Services provides funding to states to provide services to people with disabilities in the community. These services are designed to help individuals be independent, safe, and included in the community. Available devices and services include adaptations to vehicles, home modifications, hearing aids, and other assistive technology (environmental controls, specialized computers and software). There are both financial and functional eligibility requirements. Waivers can be used to support farm family members who want to participate in farming activities, live at home, or participate in community activities.

Health insurance

Medicare

Health insurance plans, including private plans, Medicaid, and Medicare, provide Durable Medical Equipment (DME) for enrollees. DME includes canes, walkers, wheelchairs, hospital beds, oxygen equipment, and in-home dialysis equipment. Assistive technology provided by health insurance coverage is directly related to medical need. 
Statewide Assistive Technology Programs Every state and territory has a program that incorporate activities for learning about and acquiring assistive technology.  Most state assistive technology programs provide information about devices, assistive technology demonstrations, equipment lending libraries, and reuse programs. Some have state financing programs. Some of the states include alternative financing programs (AFPs) as part of their assistive technology programs; some provide other allowable programs, including Telecommunication Device Distribution Programs (TDDP).
Alternative Financing Programs (AFPs) The majority of the states and territories (at least 42) have financing programs for the purchase of assistive technology. As part of the Assistive Technology Act, AFPs provide flexible financing terms for people with disabilities and their families. Depending on the state’s program, borrowers have the ability to purchase adapted vehicles, home modifications, hearing aids, computers, tablets, and adapted farm equipment. AFPs provide direct loans, guaranteed loans, interest buy-downs, and traditional loans. Some of the programs are embedded within the state assistive technology project; others are non-profit organizations.
US Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan programs The USDA has several loan programs, along with partial grants, available to eligible low-income homeowners to repair, improve, or modernize their homes.  A variety of financing packages (including grants) are available to individuals, non-profits, consumer cooperatives, and others. These programs can make it possible for a farmer to make repairs on his or her home. Basic repairs (such as a roof repair) are not considered assistive technology and so do not qualify for an AFP loan.
Housing Financing Agencies Every state and territory has a housing financing agency. These agencies incorporate a number of programs that expand affordable, accessible housing options for people with disabilities. States have the ability to develop their own programs. Many states provide flexible financing for home ownership, renovation and repair programs, and programs that finance assistive technology (home modifications) for individuals who have disabilities or long-term health conditions. Many states have created Housing Trust Funds to support the expansion of housing programs. Several states have expanded the funding for these programs with fees or taxes from gas production.
Local service clubs and disability service clubs Many disability and service clubs provide grants to individuals for assistive technology or labor to build, renovate, or repair structures.  Local affiliates of United Cerebral Palsy provide grants for computers and specialized software; many organizations serving individuals with multiple sclerosis provide small grants for home modifications; many agencies serving individuals with ALS have equipment loan closets; Lions Club affiliates provide eyeglasses; and Eagle Scouts work on projects on farms. Also, many Grange and local Farm Bureau organizations and 4H programs have service learning projects and small grant programs. Because there are a variety of small grant programs, it is important to research local resources.
Options Counseling
The Administration for Community Living within the US Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for creating Options Counseling programs in every state. Options Counselors help individuals—primarily those who are aging or who have a disability or health-related diagnosis—develop a plan for addressing long-term services and supports and assist these individuals in connecting with public and private funding, as needed.
Options Counselors are being trained and will have the resources necessary (including state-specific information via the Internet) to help individuals learn about the resources they need to work, live in their own homes, and participate in their communities. Options Counselors are being trained on resources that will help farmers and ranchers with disabilities continue in production agriculture. 
Cooperative Extension System The Cooperative Extension System, which is funded in part by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture within the USDA, has a network of local and regional offices that are staffed by experts who provide information and training opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and farm families interested in topics related to agriculture. Through a network of statewide and local resources, Extension teams can provide farmers, gardeners, and producers with the information needed to start or expand a business, health and safety protocols, and connections to peers, vendors, and information related to emerging businesses. The Extension system is well-coordinated, and Extension staff members have the ability to research and share information that is useful to individual farmers and ranchers.
State Departments of Agriculture Every state and territory has a Department of Agriculture that is staffed by knowledgeable employees and funded with a combination of state and federal dollars.  There are a variety of grant-funded programs available for farmers or others who are interested in production agriculture. Programs cover such topics as business planning, transitions to organic farming, improving soil health, and protecting water quality. Funding for specific programs may not be available every year.  It is important to research what is available within a specific state.
National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) A non-profit, NCAT hosts a number of programs that promote sustainable agriculture. NCAT’s agriculture work has recently focused on small-scale intensive farming, urban farming, and local foods, and assistance to small farmers, beginning and new farmers, and veterans wishing to become farmers. NCAT has staff members who can assist farmers and ranchers with information and training opportunities. NCAT developed and manages the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA).
Kiva Zip Kiva provides 0% interest micro-loans to eligible small business owners in the United States. Kiva Zip provides small business loans of up to $10,000 to farmers when other sources of funds are not available. A few programs are working with foundations to expand lending opportunities to entrepreneurs. A program in Philadelphia is designed to expand urban gardening/production. Borrowers must have a viable business or business plan. The loan must be expected to have a positive social impact (for example, food production for urban areas).
Weatherization Assistance Programs The US Department of Energy (DOE) provides grants to states for weatherization assistance. Under DOE guidelines, states give preference to people over 60, families with one or more members having a disability, and low-income families with children. The local weatherization assistance agency carries out an energy audit, makes recommendations, and depending on the needs, provides the necessary work (energy-related). Weatherization assistance programs do not assist with new roofs or siding or similar structural improvements.  However, agencies may be able to coordinate with organizations that provide such assistance.
National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) NRCS is part of the USDA. NRCS financial and technical projects relate to air quality, groundwater conservation, erosion reduction, and so on. NRCS offers programs to eligible landowners and agricultural producers to help sustainably manage natural resources.
Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) SARE has grant opportunities available to producers, students, community organizations, and others. Grants for producers may help with the costs of hosting field days, samples and analyses, labor, and so on (see grant guidelines).

Grants are very competitive. For producers, grant funds cannot be used to buy equipment or to start or expand an operation. Funds can be used for outreach, materials for the funded project, and so on.

 

 

 

 
 
Use the following format to cite this article:

Funding resources for assistive technology for farmers and ranchers. (2015) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://articles.extension.org/pages/72916/funding-resources-for-assistiv….

 

Authored by:

Susan Tachau, PA Assistive Technology Foundation – stachau@patf.us
 
Reviewed by:
Kirk Ballin, Virginia AgrAbility
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu
Karen Funkenbusch, University of Missouri – FunkenbuschK@missouri.edu
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University – djm13@psu.edu
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu
 

Videos Disponibles en Español – Videos Available in Spanish

Los vídeos son recursos educativos valiosos para los productores agrícolas, educadores agrícolas, profesionales de la seguridad y salud agrícola y para el personal del Sistema de Extensión Cooperativa. Además de los recursos disponibles en extension y en el sitio web Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH), los recursos de seguridad y salud agrícola están disponibles a través de universidades y organizaciones. La siguiente información provee enlaces a videos en español publicados desde el año 2000 por las universidades y las organizaciones de seguridad y salud agrícola.

Animales (Animals)

Título Organización Fecha de Publicación

Entrenamiento de Seguridad de Lecheria 1.1 – El Cuidado de los Animales en los corrales (Dairy Safety Training: Outside Animal Care)

8:58 minutes

Centros de Seguridad y Salud Agrícola de los EEUU 2015
 
5:04 minutes
Centros de Seguridad y Salud Agrícola de los EEUU 2015
 
4:19 minutes
Centros de Seguridad y Salud Agrícola de los EEUU 2015
 
8:27 minutes
Centros de Seguridad y Salud Agrícola de los EEUU 2015

Previniendo lesiones por piquetes de agujas – El uso apropiado en lecherías (Preventing Needlestick Injuries – Proper Use on Dairy Farms)

2:30 minutes

Salud y seguridad agrícola del medio oeste superior (Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health)

2015

Previniendo lesiones por piquetes de agujas – En granjas porcinas (Preventing Needlestick Injuries – Proper Use on Swine and Hog Farms)

2:33 minutes

Salud y seguridad agrícola del medio oeste superior (Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health)

2015

Salud en el trabajo (Occupational Health)

Título Organización Fecha de Publicación

Enfermedades por el Calor (Heat Illness)

Centros de Seguridad y Salud Agrícola de los EEUU 2014
Farm Shop Safety SAIF 2016

Lesiones de Escalera (Ladder Injuries)

Centros de Seguridad y Salud Agrícola de los EEUU 2015

 

Productos Químicos y Pesticidas (Pesticides)

Título Organización Fecha de Publicación
Como Protegerse de los Pesticidas en el Trabajo (Sección 1 de 2) Centros de Seguridad y Salud Agrícola de los EEUU 2014
Despues del Trabajo: Proteja a Su Familia (Sección 2 de 2) Centros de Seguridad y Salud Agrícola de los EEUU 2014

Tractores y Maquinarias (Tractor & Machinery)

Título Organización Fecha de Publicación
Señales con las Manos (Agricultural Safety Signals) Universidad de Penn State 2011
Seguridad con Tractores Agrícolas: Más Allá de Arados y Tomas de Fuerza  Farm Tractor Safety: More than Plows and PTOs Departamento de Trabajo e Industrias del Estado de Washington 2010
Para Su Seguridad: Prácticas de Seguridad con Segadoras Industriales y Agrícolas For Your Safety: Industrial and Agricultural Mower Safety Practices Asociación de Fabricantes de Maquinarias (AEM) 2005
Módulo I: Vestimenta Segura (Safe Personal Dress) Universidad de Penn State 2013
Módulo II: Equipo de Proteccion Personal (Personal Protective Equipment) Universidad de Penn State 2013
Módulo III: Senales Con Las Manos (Hand Signals) Universidad de Penn State 2013
Módulo IV: Subir/Bajar y Encender/Apagar Tractores (Starting/Stopping Tractors and Mounting/Dismounting Tractors) Universidad de Penn State 2013
Módulo V: Peligros Mecanicos (Mechanical Hazards) Universidad de Penn State 2013
Módulo VI: Revision De Pre-Operacion (Pre Operational Check-ups) Universidad de Penn State 2013
Módulo VII: Ejemplos de Practicas de Trabajo Seguras e Inseguras (Examples of Safe and Unsafe Practices) Universidad de Penn State 2013
seguridad de skid steer loader (Skid Steer Loader Safety) Universidad de Penn State  
Tractor Safety Elements SAIF Consejo de Corporación y Agronegocios de Oregan 2011

 

Recursos en Español sobre Seguridad y Salud Agrícola

Los recursos educativos en forma impresa, vídeo y conferencias por internet son valiosos para los productores agrícolas, educadores agrícolas, profesionales de la seguridad y salud agrícola y para el personal del Sistema de Extensión Cooperativa. Además de los recursos disponibles en eXtension y a través de Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) – eXtension sobre Seguridad y Salud para Fincas  y Ranchos, los recursos de seguridad y salud agrícola están disponibles a través de universidades y organizaciones. La siguiente información proporciona enlaces a publicaciones en español disponibles en Internet publicadas por las universidades y las organizaciones de seguridad y salud agrícola desde el año 2000.

Videos Disponibles en Español

Contenido

Publicaciones o Recursos – Productos Químicos/Pesticidas (Chemicals/Pesticides)

Título Organización Fecha de Publicación
Aunque cerca…sanco. Una guia para prevencion de los riesgos de los pesticidas (Pesticides Nearby…But Staying Healthy) National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety 2003
Cómo lavarse la ropa contaminada de manera segura (How to Safety Wash Contaminated Clothing) New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health

Publicaciones o Recursos – Espacios Confinados (Confined Spaces)

Título Organización Fecha de Publicación
Gas Hazards Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health
Gases del Silo – Un Peligro Escondido (Silo Gases – The Hidden Danger) Penn State University 2014
Peligros del Flujo de Granos (Hazards of Flowing Grain) Penn State University 2013
Seguridad en el Llenado del Silo (Silo Filling Safety) Penn State University 2013

Publicaciones o Recursos – General Farm Safety

Titulo Organizacion Fecha de Publicacion
A Guide to Train Dairy Workers Migrant Clinician Network and National Farm Medicine Center
Comunicar Seguridad. Inglés como salud y seguridad de materiales de capacitación Segundo Idioma (Communicating Safety: English as a Second Language Health and Safety Training Materials

  • Staying Safe at Work with PPE
  • Working Safely in the Parlor
  • Safe Animal Handling and the Holding Area
  • Working Safely with Machinery
  • Preparing for Emergencies
Migrant Clinicians Network 2015
Diez consejos para evitar patadas en la sala de ordeño (Milking Parlor Safety) New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health
En una emergencia, ¡llame al 911! (In an Emergency, Call 911) New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health
Estandar de OSHA sobre Proteccion de Maquinarias (OSHA Machine Guarding Standard) Penn State University 2013
Requerimientos de OSHA sobre ROPS y Capacitacion del Operator (OSHA ROPS and Operator Instruction Requirements) Penn State University 2013
Seguridad en las lecherías (Immigrant Dairy Worker Health and Safety) Migrant Clinician Network & National Farm Medicine Center 2013 – 2015
Un Resumen de las Leyes y los Reglamentos que Afectan a la Agricultura (A Summery of Laws and Regulations Affecting Agriculture) Penn State University 2013

Publicaciones o Recursos – Tractores y Maquinarias (Tractors and Machinery)

Título Organización Fecha de Publicación
10 Sugerencias de Seguridad con los ATV (Top 10 Suggestions for ATV Safety) Penn State University 2014
10 Sugerencias de Seguridad con las Cortadoras de Cesped (Top 10 Safety Tips for Lawnmowers) Penn State University 2014
10 Surgerencias de Seguridad con los Mini Cargadores (Top 10 Safety Tips for Skid Steers) Penn State University 2014
10 Surgerencias de Seguridad con los Tractores (Top 10 Safety Tips for Tractors) Penn State University 2014
Agriculture Safety: All-Terrain Vehicle Hazards during Farm Work Fact Sheet OSHA 2016
Agriculture Safety: Preventing Farm Vehicle Backover Incidents Fact Sheet OSHA 2016
Agriculture Safety: Protecting Workers from Tractor Hazards Fact Sheet OSHA 2016
Agriculture: Protecting Farmworkers from Tractor and Harvester Hazards QuickCard  (Protegiendo a los trabajadores agrícolas de los peligros de tractores y cosechadoras) OSHA 2014
Agriculture: Backing Up Farm Vehicles and Equipment Safely QuickCard OSHA 2014
ATVs y Juventud: Vehiculos Adecuados Para Ninos (ATVs and Youth: Matching Children and Vehicles) Penn State University 2014
El Uso Seguro de Vehiculos Todo Terreno en la Agricultura (The Safe Use of ATVs in Agriculture) Penn State University 2013
Estabilidad e Inestabilidad del Tractor (Tractor Overturn Hazards) Penn State University 2014
Rx para la Seguridad en Carreteras con SMV: Sea Visible (Rx for SMV Highway Safety: Be Conspicuous) Penn State University 2013
Seguridad con Camiones Volcadores y Remolques en las Granjas (Farm Dump Truck and Trailer Safety) Penn State University 2013
Seguridad con la Toma de Fuerza (PTO) (Power Take-Off (PTO) Safety) Penn State University 2014
Seguridad al Usar el Tractor (Tractor Safety) Kansas State University 2006
Senales de Mano Agricolas (Hand Signals) Texas Department of Workers Comp
Tractor Safety – Page 1 and Page 2 Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health

Publicaciones o Recursos – Seguridad y Salud Ocupacional (Occupational Safety and Health)

Título

7 Pasos de seguridad en escaleras

Organización

Center for Construction Research and Training

Fecha de Publicación

N/A

Agriculture: Protecting Workers from Tripod Orchard Ladder Injuries QuickCard OSHA 2014
Agriculture: Safe Use of Tripod Orchard Ladders Fact Sheet OSHA 2014
Consejos de seguridad para el frío de invierno (Cold Weather Safety Tips) New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health
Consejos de seguridad para los ojos de los trabajadores (Eye Protection Safety for Workers) New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health
Enfermedades por Calor y Agricultura (Heat Illness in Agriculture) Penn State University 2014
¡Gánele al calor! (Beat the Heat!) New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health
Hearing Loss Prevention, Skin Cancer, and Whole Body Vibration Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health
La Prevención de Lesiones a la Espalda (Back Injury Prevention Safety Training Program) Texas Department of Workers Comp
Peligros Respiratorios en las Fincas (Farm Respiratory Hazards) Penn State University 2014
Trabaje con seguridad con la escalera de huerta (Working Safely with Orchard Ladders) New York Center for Agricultural Medicine & Health

Publicaciones o Recursos – Poblaciones Especiales (Special Populations)

Título Organización Fecha de Publicación
Creacion de areas de juego seguras en granjas miniedicion  (Creating Safe Play Areas of Farms) National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety 2010
Safety Guidelines for Hired Adolescent Farm Workers National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety 2010

Injury Risk Assessment for Supervised Agricultural Experiences


Injury Risk Assessment

(Source: Utah State University)

A supervised agricultural experience (SAE) is one of the three key components of an agricultural education program for high school students. An SAE provides a student with an experiential learning opportunity and is based on one or more of the following categories: entrepreneurship, placement, research and experimentation, or exploration.

Importance of an Injury Risk Assessment Protocol for SAEs

The SAE is a broadly defined experience for students and can include but is not limited to working in a job or an internship on a farm or ranch, owning and operating an agricultural business, planning and conducting a scientific experiment, or exploring agricultural career opportunities. The Injury Risk Assessment for SAEs protocol is a resource for evaluating work sites to assess risks for individuals involved with production-based SAEs on those work sites. Production-based SAE safety evaluations and risk assessments must be integral parts of agricultural educators’ visits to production-based SAE sites. Click here to learn more about the importance of safety in production-based SAEs.

Components of the Injury Risk Assessment for SAEs Protocol

The Injury Risk Assessment for SAEs protocol includes the following components: 

SAE Safety Daily Lesson Plan – The daily lesson plan provides agricultural educators with a complete 30-minute lesson that includes an SAE Safety slide presentation.

SAE Code of Practice for Safety Risk Assessment – Educators, employers, and/or parents can have students review and sign this agreement form to state that they will represent their school and FFA Chapter positively with regard to promoting and strengthening student safety while completing an SAE. The Code of Practice should be completed at the beginning of a student’s SAE or the beginning of each school year or as an assignment related to a unit of instruction in an SAE.

Student Self-Assessment of SAE – Students complete this self-evaluation to assess an SAE in relation to supervision, working conditions, and emergencies. The self-assessment should be completed by students as an assignment within the first two weeks of an SAE. An administrator of the SAE should file the completed form for future reference.

Teacher/Parent/Employer Safety Assessment of Student’s SAE – This easy-to-use assessment form was developed specifically for a teacher, a parent, or an employer to conduct a safety assessment of a student’s SAE, based on the job, working conditions, and injury preparedness. Ideally, this form should be completed after the student completes the SAE Code of Practice and Student Self-Assessment documents and after or in conjunction with a scheduled SAE visit. Again, an administrator of the SAE should file the completed form for future reference.

Return to the Safety in Agriculture for Youth (SAY) page.

 
Reviewed and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu
Dave E. Hill, Penn State University (Has since retired)
Rebecca G. Lawver, Utah State University – Rebecca.lawver@usu.edu
Dennis J. Murphy, Penn State University (Has since retired)
Michael Pate, Penn State University – mlp79@psu.edu