Michael Pate 2017-10-25 01:57:42
A report on the NCERA committee Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the U.S., and the safety and health challenges of this industry are often complex due to the combination of home and workplace. A farm or ranch is often an occupational worksite as well as the residence of the workforce. Research in this field is challenging due to the wide variety of characteristics that can lead to differences in hazard vulnerability for different populations. Addressing the complex safety challenges of these vulnerable populations requires innovative research to document the effectiveness of interventions in a timely manner, before the affected population is no longer accessible or conditions change. It’s especially critical to conduct research on outreach and communication efforts that assist farm workers in identifying hazards, avoiding hazards, and implementing appropriate actions when encountering a hazard. To address these dynamic safety and health issues, collaborative efforts?multi-institutional as well as multi-discipline? are encouraged. The discussions often focus on “translational” research (or “research to practice”) to enhance the benefits for the workforce that is targeted with an intervention. In agricultural safety and health, translational research means the application of basic science to enhance the health and well-being of the farm population. The goal is to translate research results into practices that have meaningful outcomes. The land grant university system was founded in the nineteenth century to address the needs of agricultural producers through research, outreach, and service. The land grant system continues to provide translational research as well as basic research to these stakeholders. In 2000, the North Central Education/Extension Research Activity (NCERA) committee was founded to develop strategies to leverage the research and extension capacity of land grant institutions as well as the experience of agricultural producers to reduce work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. Land grant faculty have led this effort by combining their expertise in agricultural education, vocational education, agricultural and biological engineering, and public health. I became a member of the NCERA committee in 2010. In 2003, the NCERA committee created the National Land-Grant Research and Extension Agenda for Agricultural Safety and Health (http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1122&context=abe_eng_pubs), which prioritized twelve areas with 115 individual topics related to agricultural safety and health in which research or extension gaps exist. Two of these priority areas have been the focus of NCERA committee white papers (see sidebar): • “Agricultural Equipment on Public Roads” (http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1121&context=abe_eng_pubs). • “Research and Extension Agenda for Agricultural Confined Spaces” (http://articles.extension.org/sites/default/files/ConfinedSpaces.pdf). In 2016, the NCERA committee completed a review to determine the level of scholarly activity associated with the twelve research and extension priorities, as well as to identify the major contributors of research articles and extension education products. The data search was conducted between January and July 2016. Scholarly publications were defined as peer-reviewed journal articles, technical conference papers, or educational products. Publication dates from 2004 to 2015 were included in the search. The review showed that a high percentage of scholarly publications in the priority areas were produced between 2012 and 2015. The committee also found that more educational products were produced than peer-reviewed journal articles within the timeframe of the review. The benefits of joining the NCERA committee have been successful funding collaborations as well as enhanced strategic efforts to improve agricultural safety and health. The committee encourages members to participate in other organizations related to agricultural safety and health, and current efforts involve collaborations with these organizations. Over the years, numerous relationships have been developed with organizations such as USDA-NIFA, ASABE, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America (ASHCA), the International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health, AgSafe BC, and the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association. The NCERA committee also encourages new and improved industry standards through participation in ASABE standards development. The committee particularly seeks to provide input into standards development to ensure that the perspectives of the agricultural workforce are taken into account. Numerous NCERA committee members serve on technical committees, such as the Ergonomics Safety and Health Technology Exchange. These collaborative efforts have been successful, and maintaining them will be necessary to address the future challenges of agricultural safety and health. Advances in agricultural technology as well as the changing demographics in the agricultural workforce are two of the future developments facing agricultural safety and health professionals. Another area that the committee will need to address is infrastructure support to fund agricultural safety and health research and extension efforts, as well as identify emerging issues. The NCERA committee relies on ASABE as a leader in developing agricultural safety and health standards, as well as in supporting innovative safety engineering. ASABE member Michael Pate, Nationwide Insurance Associate Professor of Agricultural Safety and Health, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org. NCERA committees provide opportunity for scientists, specialists, and others to work cooperatively to solve problems that concern more than one state, share research data, and coordinate research and other types of activities. Additionally, these committees serve to integrate education (academic and/or extension) and research on a particular topic where multistate coordination or information exchange is appropriate, have expected outcomes, convey knowledge, and are peer-reviewed. In 2007, the NCERA committee for agricultural safety and health created white papers on two significant topics. The goal of these documents is to highlight current problems in agriculture, and find effective solutions to mitigate the hazards and risks. Agricultural Equipment in Public Roads Issues relating to equipment operation on public roads are multifaceted and complex. This report looks at a number of issues, including the rural/urban traffic interface, state and federal regulations, higher-speed tractors, and transport of workers on public roadways with farm equipment. Several suggestions in the areas of research, standards, education/outreach, and policy have been developed to help guide future work as a result of this review. Research and Extension Agenda for Agricultural Confined Spaces Hazards associated with agricultural confined spaces continue to be significant causes of work-related injuries and fatalities within production agriculture. A definition used in general industry identifies a confined space as any space found in a workplace that is not designated or intended as a regular workstation, has limited or restricted means of entry or exit, and has potential for associated physical and/or toxic hazards to workers who intentionally or unintentionally enter the space. In agriculture, there are many types of confined spaces, including grain and feed storage facilities, forage storage structures, livestock manure storage facilities, various agricultural transport vehicles and equipment, food processing and storage equipment and facilities, and other non-traditional forms, including conveyer enclosures, diked areas around storage tanks, spray and fuel storage tanks, greenhouses during certain operations, and other areas around the farm. This white paper outlines a research and extension agenda to address the concerns for agricultural confined spaces.
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This page can be found at http://bt.e-ditionsbyfry.com/article/The+Land+Grant+Perspective/2919467/448262/article.html.