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Theater as a mechanism for increasing farm health and safety knowledge.

Elkind-PD; Pitts-K; Ybarra-SL
Am J Ind Med 2002 Aug; 42(Suppl 2):28-35
Background:The agricultural industry has one of the highest injury and fatality rates of all industries in the US. Hispanic farm workers constitute the largest percentage of farm workers on Eastern Washington farms. Literacy levels, language skills, and migration patterns need to be considered when developing farm health and safety education. Theater was chosen as a method to provide health education and farm safety training to farm workers and their families living in a three county region of Eastern Washington. Methods: The most urgent health and safety education needs of Hispanic farm workers were identified by a series of focus groups and key informant interviews. The resulting data was used to develop four Spanish one-act plays, which were presented in each of the three counties. To test the effectiveness of theater as an educational tool each of the plays was accompanied by pre-and post-play self-report questionnaires. These were analyzed using two-tailed Chi-square (2) tests of significance and a one-tail Marginal Homogeneity statistic. Results: A total of 301 persons completed pre-test post-test questionnaires; 185 were farm workers and 115 were local community members. Thirteen of seventeen questions designed to measure information gained directly from the plays showed a significant degree of positive knowledge change (P = < 0.10). Follow-up interviews conducted 2 months after play viewing suggest that participants retain some of the health and safety messages in the plays. Conclusions: The hypothesis, appropriate farm health and safety knowledge increases as a result of attendance at a one-act Spanish play enacted by a community players' group was validated since 13 of 17 questions showed a significant degree of positive knowledge change. Overall, participants indicated that they liked the plays, recalled the story lines easily, and would attend additional plays if given the opportunity.
Health-standards; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-workers; Farmers; Safety-education; Safety-monitoring; Safety-practices; Education; Questionnaires
Pamela Dee Elkind, Center for Farm Health & Safety, Department of Sociology, Eastern Washington University, 314 Patterson Hall, Cheney, WA 99004-2429
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Work Environment and Workforce: Special Populations
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American Journal of Industrial Medicine
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Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington