Proceedings of the NIOSH Symposium on Efforts to Prevent Injury and Disease Among Agricultural Workers, August 25-27, 1993, Lexington, Kentucky. Washington, DC: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1994 Jul; :9-19
NIOSH was created by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. In 1971 NIOSH was created as a result of that Act. Shortly thereafter, OSHA, which was also created as a result of that act, convened an Agricultural Safety Standards Committee, on which NIOSH participated. There is a gentleman, not the one here from New York, but one that was with NIOSH at that time, Dr. John May, served on that committee. John May is a close friend of mine. That committee recommended several standards, one of which led to the roll-over protection structure (ROPS) standard by OSHA in the mid-1970s, as well as the machine guarding standard. Many things came out of that process, but a lot happened politically that stopped that process at OSHA. NIOSH, however in 1974, did convene a conference in Iowa City. It was on agricultural health and safety. Several conclusions at that time came out. One of those was agricultural safety and health received much less attention than it should. Another was related research was generally scattered and had low visibility. There might be some research going on, but you could not capture it as part of an agricultural problem. State programs and occupational safety and health had not been applied to agricultural safety and health. It had been an ignored area. Many of those things remain true today, although I think there is a lot of movement today, in terms of recognition of the problem, and a lot has happened at both the state and the national level in terms of occupational safety and health. Over time, we have had different sets of oobjectives in the Public Health Service. The latest set is called, "The Year 2000 Objectives." Within those objectives in occupational safety and health, some are specifically targeted at agriculture, particularly fatalities and injuries. That is another part of our time line and the things we watch at NIOSH. Probably the most significant "happening," in terms of agricultural safety and health at NIOSH, was the Appropriations Act of 1990. In that Act there was a statement made to launch an initiative, which NIOSH would lead, when sustained over a period of time, would result in a significant and measurable impact on health affects among rural Americans. That is the guiding principle given to us by the Congress in our program. That still remains our guiding principle. Thus, we are looking for measurable impacts in safety and health.