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NOTE: This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.
For the current work of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Program, please visit our directory page.

	farm, forest, fishing boat

Inputs: National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA)

Sector-Based Approach

The National Occupational Research Agenda is a partnership program to stimulate innovative research and improved workplace practices. Unveiled in 1996, NORA has become a framework for occupational safety and health research in the nation. Diverse parties collaborate to identify the most critical issues in workplace safety and health. Partners then work together to develop goals, objectives and an implementation plan for addressing these needs.

Stakeholder Comments

Many stakeholders submitted comments in 2005 and 2006 with their thoughts on the most pressing safety and health issues in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing sector. The stakeholder comments can be searched, viewed and printed. These comments comprise one of the inputs considered by the NORA Sector Councils when drafting their strategic plans for the nation.

NORA Sector Councils

NORA Sector Councils develop and maintain sector-specific research agendas. In addition, a Cross-Sector Council coordinates priorities that affect multiple sectors and groups of workers. Representing all stakeholders, the councils use an open process to set goals, develop strategies, encourage partnerships, and promote improved workplace practices.

The NORA Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing (AgFF) Sector Council was formed in January 2007 with the first council meeting on February 22, 2007. The Council has since developed a national agenda with nine priority strategic goals.

  • Strategic Goal 1: Improve surveillance within the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing Sector to describe: the nature, extent, and economic burden of occupational illnesses, injuries, and fatalities; occupational hazards; and worker populations at risk for adverse health outcomes.
  • Strategic Goal 2: Reduce deleterious health and safety outcomes in workers more susceptible to injury or illness due to circumstances limiting options for safeguarding their own safety and health.
  • Strategic Goal 3: Move proven health and safety strategies into agricultural, forestry and fishing workplaces through the development of partnerships and collaborative efforts.
  • Strategic Goal 4: Reduce the number, rate, and severity of traumatic injuries and deaths involving hazards of production agriculture and support activities.
  • Strategic Goal 5: Improve the health and well-being of agricultural workers by reducing occupational causes or contributing factors to acute and chronic illness and disease.
  • Strategic Goal 6: Reduce the number, rate and severity of traumatic injuries and deaths involving hazards of forestry.
  • Strategic Goal 7: Improve the health and well-being of forestry workers by reducing occupational causes or contributing factors to acute and chronic illness and disease.
  • Strategic Goal 8: Reduce the number, rate and severity of traumatic injuries (including deaths) involving hazards of commercial fishing.
  • Strategic Goal 9: To improve the health of commercial fishermen by reducing occupational causes or contributing factors to illness and disease.

View the National Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Agenda - December 2008 [PDF - 750 KB]

Currently, council members have divided up into the following smaller work groups to develop implementation plans for the goals:

  • Surveillance
  • Vulnerable Workers
  • Outreach, Communications, and Partnerships
  • Agriculture Safety
  • Agriculture Health
  • Forestry Safety and Health
  • Fishing Safety and Health

The following goals in the AgFF agenda have been accomplished:

  • Activity/Output Goal 1.1.1: The Coast Guard, working with NIOSH, will develop an improved and realistic data collection regime for improving what is learned from casualty investigations within the commercial fishing industry.
    • Accomplished 2009
    • Partners: USCG, NIOSH
    The US Coast Guard and NIOSH have a MOA establishing a data sharing agreement. We are working together to improve the quality of data collection during USCG investigations by creating the “NIOSH Supplement” to be used during fatality investigations. In addition, the USCG continues to consult with NIOSH after vessel casualties to make sure the correct information is being collected. These activities continue with the rotation of USCG personnel. In addition, the USCG is placing a junior officer on a 6-week detail with NIOSH to understand how commercial fishing fatality data are coded and analyzed using CFID.
  • Activity/Output Goal 1.1.8: In collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard, expand the NIOSH Commercial Fishing Incident Database (CFID) to other regions of the U.S.
    • Accomplished 2009
    • Partners: USCG, NIOSH, MA FACE, OR FACE
    NIOSH now maintains the CFID for all commercial fishing fatalities for the country. It currently contains data from 2000-2009. We are currently updating CFID with information from 2010.
  • Activity/Output Goal 3.1.3: Convene a biennial national state‐of the‐science conference on agriculture, forestry, and fishing safety and health resources, interventions, program needs, and training issues. Use this conference to facilitate networking, program implementation, and improved training among a wide range of collaborators.
    • Accomplished 2009, 2010, ongoing…
    • Partners: ASHCA, NIFS, Ag Centers, NIOSH
  • Activity/Output Goal 8.1.5: Develop a Top 10 list of fisheries management practices that contribute to unsafe practices in the commercial fishing industry.
    • Accomplished 2010
    • Partners: NIOSH, AMSEA, NPFVOA, USCG, Federal Commercial Fishing Industry Advisory Committee, University of Alaska, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
    This Top 10 list of fisheries management practices was completed by the Federal Commercial Fishing Industry Advisory Committee during their May 2010 meeting in Oakland California.
  • Activity/Output Goal 8.2.1: Develop and evaluate best practices for preventing falls overboard and fatalities due to falls overboard. These would include activities such as field evaluations of Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs), surveys of fishermen, developing better recovery devices and practices.
    • Accomplished 2010
    • Partners: NIOSH, USCG, PNASH, Oregon Health Sciences University, AMSEA, PFD Manufacturers Association, Mustang Survival
    NIOSH completed the PFD evaluation with commercial fishermen in Alaska. We also supported a repeat of the study among Dungeness crab fishermen in OR. We are currently working with PFD manufacturers, safety trainers, and industry partners to promote the results of the study and to encourage fishermen to establish PFD policies for their vessels as well as finding comfortable PFDs that work for them. In addition, we will be releasing the Man Overboard DVD that shows ways to prevent falls overboard as well as how to recover a person in the water once they fall over. The DVD is due out in March 2011. Falls overboard are still a leading cause of fatalities. Continued effort is needed to address this hazard.
  • Activity/Output Goal 8.4.2: Form a National Fisheries Management and Safety Coordination Committee to coordinate national policy integrating fishery management and safety regimes.
    • Accomplished 2010
    • Partners: NIOSH, NMFS, USCG, NTSB
    NIOSH is working with the USCG and the National Marine Fisheries Service to establish guidance on analytical methods to evaluate safety in the fisheries management process. Recent work by NIOSH and the US Coast Guard 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.

View the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Sector Council participants, activities and products.