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Impacts of the NORA Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Sector Council

NOTE: This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.

End outcomes (reductions in workplace illnesses, injuries, fatalities, and/or hazardous exposures) generally occur over a period of many years. However, intermediate outcomes (what organizations and individuals do with knowledge and products generated by research) generally occur in a shorter time frame. A list of some of the intermediate outcomes resulting from NIOSH and NORA research and partnership activities is below.

Contact the Sector Coordinator or the NORA Coordinator with questions or comments at any time.


The US Department of Labor (DOL) is using NIOSH childhood agricultural surveillance data to estimate the number of hired youth who rode horses, or operated tractors or all-terrain vehicles as part of farm work. These data will be used to estimate the number of youth covered by possible changes to Child Labor Hazardous Orders. DOL is also using NIOSH childhood agricultural surveillance data as part of a report documenting the different estimates of the US farm youth labor force.

On May 20, the Department of Labor announced final child labor rules that went into effect on July 19, 2010. The federal register notice ( and Department of Labor fact sheet ( ) both note that these new rules include numerous recommendations made by NIOSH (by DOL’s count, 25 of the NIOSH non-agricultural Hazardous Orders recommendations). DOL is describing these new rules as the “…most ambitious and far-reaching revisions to the child labor regulations in the last thirty years.”

The following are the key NIOSH recommendations that are reflected in the new rules:

  • Prohibiting youth working at poultry slaughtering and packaging plants,
  • Prohibiting riding on a forklift as a passenger,
  • Prohibiting work in forest fire fighting, forestry services, and timber tract management,
  • Prohibiting the operation of and assisting in the operation of certain power-driven hoists and work assist vehicles,
  • Prohibiting the operation of balers and compacters designed or used for non-paper products, and
  • Prohibiting the operation of power-driven chain saws, wood chippers, reciprocating saws, and abrasive cutting discs.

An article published in USA Today on 2 November 2010 “Tractor Updates Cut Deaths,” cited numerous statistics from a 2009 journal article on tractor overturn deaths.

The US Department of Labor used NIOSH occupational injury and health surveillance data on hired crop workers for a Hispanic occupational health conference sponsored by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Human Rights Watch used NIOSH childhood agricultural surveillance information on youth employment, injuries, and hazard exposures in a report documenting child farm workers.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) distributed more than 150,000 NIOSH pamphlets to farm operators across the US. These pamphlets summarize common causes of childhood farm injury and steps that farmers can take to foster safe and healthful farm environments for children.

The Michigan Agricultural Rescue System has developed training to curtail farm deaths and improve emergency response. The training is based on case studies from the NIOSH-funded Michigan Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program.

The Berrien County Farm Bureau (MI), in conjunction with a credit union and local equipment dealerships, voted to offer financial assistance for Roll-over Protective Structures (ROPS) purchase and installation for their members. The Farm Bureau President reported that he was influenced by a NIOSH-funded Michigan Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) presentation.

The US Government Accountability Office has used NIOSH childhood agricultural surveillance information on all-terrain vehicle (ATV) use and injuries for a study on the costs associated with ATV-related incidents and injuries as required by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

An article published in Growing, a major trade journal for US agricultural producers, discussed all-terrain vehicle (ATV) use on farms and injuries associated with their use. The article was based largely on information from NIOSH agricultural injury surveillance.

An article published in USA Today on November 2, 2010 “Tractor Updates Cut Deaths” cited numerous statistics from a 2009 journal article by NIOSH researchers on tractor overturn deaths.

After attending the NIOSH hearing loss workshop at the 2007 convention of The National Future Farmers of America Organization, the Georgia Agricultural Education Curriculum Office developed and distributed classroom-ready materials to 8000 Georgia teachers, 3000 of whom have shops/laboratories with potential excessive noise exposure, e.g. agriculture, mechanics, metals, and construction.

One day after a NIOSH-authored Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) was published (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC authors: Calvert GM, Luckhaupt SE). Illnesses and injuries related to total release foggers — eight states, 2001-2006. MMWR 2008; 57; 1125-1129. Reprinted in JAMA 2008; 300:2600-2602.), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) moved to classify total release foggers (TRFs) as restricted-use pesticide products in New York State, meaning that only certified pesticide applicators – rather than the general public – will be able to obtain them.

NIOSH researchers promoted six different safer, more profitable dairy farming practices among all dairy farmers in Wisconsin (~20,000) from 1997 to 2005. Questionnaires were used to measure the degree of adopting the new practices. Results showed that the likelihood of adopting barn lights, silo bags, and calf care feeding sites all increased significantly among northeast Wisconsin dairy farmers. Over this same period, there were also increases in the awareness of barn lights and the calf feed sites.

Since 2007, two NORA partners, The National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, The Farm Safety for Just Kids, and the National Safe Kids Campaign, have used surveillance information from the NIOSH Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Program’s youth farm injury surveillance studies.

From a 2005 survey of Washington state licensed pesticide applicators, researchers at the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center and School of Public Health, University of Washington (a NIOSH funded agricultural center) learned that 60% of respondents wanted further information on pesticides and their health effects. From a farm worker town hall meeting in 2006, pesticides ranked as a top concern. Therefore, researchers began using the Fluorescent Tracer (FT) technique, which was first used in research to assess dermal pesticide exposure, into an effective training tool for hands-on pesticide safety training. The dramatic visualization of the FT shows workers where contamination occurs and helps them evaluate their practices and protective equipment. The FT resources include a manual, instructional video, and a kit, with everything needed to conduct 200 group trainings. The FT training is active in pesticide safety and Integrated Pest Management programs in Washington State, Oregon, Montana, and Pennsylvania and internationally in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Ecuador. To find out more, visit


As a direct result of NIOSH’s personal flotation device (PFD) research and outreach, the Alaska Scallop Association has established a 100% PFD policy while on deck for its member boats. The Association requested six NIOSH DVDs entitled, “Man Overboard: Prevention and Recovery” to help educate its crews as to why it has adopted this PFD policy and why PFDs are so important for survival.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued Safety Recommendation M-11-23 through -27 on November 7, 2011. The Safety Recommendation calls for safety improvements in the commercial fishing industry. Safety issues were highlighted during a NTSB forum on fishing vessel safety, held previously in Washington, DC. During the forum, experts from NIOSH, U.S. Coast Guard, and the fishing industry identified issues to improve the safety of commercial fishing, including lifesaving equipment, replacing older vessels, and crew training. The recommendations can be found at:

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), US Marine Safety Association and Personal Flotation Devise (PFD) manufacturers are all now organizing promotions highlighting the availability of new and improved PFDs based on NIOSH research revealing fishermen’s acceptance of PFDs.

The Northeast Center for Agricultural Health has used NIOSH Commercial Fishing Incident Database (CFID) data to identify project areas to work on improving safety in the Northeast fishing fleet.

In December 2010, the National Marine Fisheries Service invited NIOSH to partner to provide guidance on analytical methods to evaluate safety in the fisheries management process. Recent work by NIOSH and the USCG has shown that the fishery management process can more explicitly address safety at sea by analyzing fatalities and calculating fatality rates for the fishery and understanding the overall trend in fatality rates. This information can be used in risk assessments to identify major hazards within a fishery.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held the Fishing Vessel Safety Forum in October 2010. The NTSB invited NIOSH to sit on three expert panels. NIOSH data were used on each expert panel. The goals of the forum were (1) to identify safety issues in the industry from the perspective of both industry and government, and (2) to identify strategies for preventing accidents and reducing the commercial fishing industry’s unacceptably high injury and fatality rate. Vessel standards, human performance issues and the regulatory environment were also discussed.

US Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 – Pub.L. 111-281 was passed by Congress in September 2010. The Act contains instructions to the US Coast Guard to prevent vessel loss, falls overboard, and severe injuries in the commercial fishing industry and to improve safety training. These recommendations were based partly on NIOSH data and duplicating successful intervention efforts that were conducted in the Alaska fishing fleet. NIOSH discussed these successes in the congressional testimony that led to the writing of this Act.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) requested data from the NIOSH Commercial Fishing Incident Database to quantify the hazard of deaths in the US fishing industry due to embarking / disembarking a vessel.

The F/V Wizard, from the Deadliest Catch, participated in the NIOSH personal flotation device (PFD) study. The F/V Wizard has instituted a 100% mandatory PFD requirement while on deck. The NIOSH study played a role in the captain’s decision to make PFDs mandatory.

Based on NIOSH data published in the article Commercial Fishing Fatalities – California, Oregon, and Washington, 2000-2006, MMWR 2008; 57 (16): 426-9, the USCG developed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Washington and Oregon Coasts regarding improved safety procedures for crossing hazardous bars. These rules were implemented in December 2009.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) requested data from the NIOSH Commercial Fishing Incident Database to assess the impact of rationalized fisheries on fatality rates in these fisheries.

The Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program used data from CFID to identify fatalities and non-fatal vessel disasters in the Oregon Dungeness Crab fishery.

The Oregon State Fish and Wildlife Department considered making Dockside Safety Exams mandatory for the Dungeness Crab fleet based on the NIOSH data reported in the MMWR 57 (16): 426-9.

The State of Alaska Office of Economic Development requested CFID data to summarize fatalities in salmon fisheries to understand which gear types are more hazardous.

The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association uses NIOSH data to identify areas to conduct marine safety classes for the commercial fishing industry in Alaska as well as in the “lower 48”.

The Southwest Center for Agricultural Health used NIOSH Commercial Fishing Incident Database (CFID) data to gain more information regarding falls overboard fatalities in the Gulf of Mexico Region.

The US Coast Guard (USCG) and NIOSH have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a data sharing agreement. The two organizations are working together to improve data quality in USCG investigations. In addition, several requests have been made by various offices in the USCG for data from the NIOSH Commercial Fishing Incident Database (CFID). Here are a few examples:

  1. The USCG has created the “NIOSH Supplement” to collect particular information on victims and survivors of vessel losses to better assess the impact of survival equipment and training in these events
  2. USCG Sector Seattle used CFID data to assess the fatality problem in their area of responsibility
  3. USCG District 13 requested CFID data to add to a map on their website describing the fatal events and prevention measures for the fishing industry in their district.

NIOSH developed an emergency stop (E-stop) that can be retrofitted to any winch. When engaged, it locks the winch in place limiting the severity of entanglement. The technology was licensed to a company in Seattle, WA to produce a commercially-available retrofit kit. Although it has been slow to be adopted, more than a dozen vessels now have an e-stop installed on their winches and 2 winch manufacturers have stated that new winches will now be made with an e-stop installed.



With the introduction of high powered mechanized harvesters replacing workers with chainsaws at the stump of trees, new safety issues have appeared. One safety issue is the intrusion of saw blade parts and chains into the worker’s cab causing injury and in some cases death. This was recognized by the NORA Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing Sector Council and improving protection of workers in the cab was made a goal. The U.S. Forest Service took on the goal and tested various glazing materials which led to an ISO standard for glazing in forest machines for protection from thrown objects (ISO 11839:2010 Machinery for Forestry).

Through the NORA Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing Sector Council Forestry Safety and Health Working Group, a public working group was organized to focus on future occupational safety and health research in forestry. Partners in forming this working group include the NORA Forestry Working Group, the International Union of Forest Research Organizations, and NIOSH.

NORA Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Sector Council Resources