AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHING
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.
- 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.
- 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 project on Reproductive Health Assessment of Agriculture Workers and Their Families has helped direct further research in this area. In addition, a commercial diagnostics company (PerkinElmer) adapted two immunoassays developed by the program for manufacture and sales.
- AgFF Program 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 [Chapman et al. 2005]. Over this same period, there were also increases in the awareness of barn lights and the calf feed sites.
- After attending the NIOSH hearing loss workshop at the 2007 convention of The National FFA Organization, the Georgia Agricultural Education Curriculum Office developed and distributed classroom-ready materials to 8000 GA teachers, 3000 of whom have shops/laboratories with potential excessive noise exposure, e.g. agriculture, mechanics, metals, and construction.
Agriculture Equipment and Vehicles
- 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 11/2/10 "Tractor Updates Cut Deaths", cited numerous statistics from a 2009 journal article on tractor overturn deaths.
- 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.
- AgFF engineering control studies resulted in the development of voluntary standards by equipment manufacturers, based primarily on NIOSH particle size data, for cabs manufactured in the United States (American Society of Agricultural Engineers Standard S525).
- Anthropometry data from the AgFF Program are being used by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE) J2194 standard committee to examine updating the tractor cab dimension standard, which will have a potential impact on the design of the next generation tractor cabs, affording better protection to the estimated six million tractor/farm machine operators in the United States.
- AgFF extramural researchers in California redesigned nursery pot carriers to reduce ergonomic hazards for workers moving nursery pots. The nursery pot handles are now being sold through Gemplers, an agriculture products mail order catalog.
- The response to the NIOSH published document entitled
Simple Solutions: Ergonomics for Farm Workers
has been positive.
- The North Carolina Labor Department praised the Spanish version of the document and indicated that they would use it for orientation of Mexican immigrant workers [North Carolina Dept. of Labor 2003].
- ErgoWeb and CTD news both wrote stories to make sure their readers knew about the booklet and directed their readership to download it from the Web site [Personal communication 2001]
- Matthew Keifer, MD of the Harborview Medical Center, Seattle reported on the Migrant Health Research Listserv, “For those of you who have not seen that pub yet, I encourage you to get a copy. It’s a practical and very clearly written collection of recommendations. I found it very useful and thought provoking. It’s a great handout for farmers, farm workers and farm managers.” [Keifer 2001]
Childhood Farm Injury
- On May 20, 2010 the Department of Labor announced final child labor rules that went into effect on July 19, 2010. The
federal register notice
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.
- A May 2010 report by Human Rights Watch, “ Fields of Peril: Child Labor in US Agriculture ,” includes numerous citations for NIOSH statistics and publications on childhood agricultural work and injuries. The report, attached to right, includes a recommendation for the Department of Labor to act upon NIOSH recommendations for changes to child labor laws in agriculture.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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 Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, The Farm Safety for Just Kids, and the National Safe Kids Campaign all use surveillance information from the AgFF Program’s youth farm injury surveillance studies.
- As part of a cost-benefit analysis of proposed changes to Child Labor Hazardous Orders for youths working on farms, a contractor for Department of Labor (DOL), SiloSmashers, requested data from the AgFF Program in 2004. SiloSmashers concluded that the AgFF Program Childhood Agricultural Injury Surveillance (CAIS) data were the only source of these data, and were critical to conducting the cost-benefit analysis requested by DOL.
- The NIOSH funded National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety created the North American Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks (NAGCAT). The guidelines assist parents in assigning appropriate farm chores to youth. An assessment of the NAGCAT’s efficacy in reducing childhood agricultural injuries was published by Gadomski et al. in 2006. They found that active dissemination of NAGCAT to farm families over a one year period created several changes on the farm. Incidence of NAGCAT preventable injuries decreased by half among seven to 19 year-olds in intervention farms where active dissemination of the Guidelines occurred verses control farms. (Gadomski et al. Efficacy of the North American Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks in Reducing Childhood Agricultural Injuries. Am J Public Health 2006; 96 (4): 722-727)
- 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.
- 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 fermal pesticide exposure, as an effective training tool for 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.
- Results from the AgFF Program’s biomonitoring studies have been used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to re-evaluate uncertainty factors used in risk assessments and have applied them to new risk assessments and dose-response models [Environmental Protection Agency 2006].
- Results from the AgFF Program’s take-home pesticide study have been used by researchers at the Utrecht University, The Netherlands, and the University of Iowa to further their research in this field. At Utrecht University, researchers have conducted preliminary work on take-home pesticides. Discussions have been on-going with them to conduct additional pesticide take-home work among farmers in the Netherlands based on their preliminary results and from the NIOSH take-home pesticide study results [Heederik 2006].
- Research developing standards for measurement of blood cholinesterases demonstrated that widely used commercial kits and procedures to measure ChEs in the rat and human are not conducted under optimum conditions and in some situations may yield grossly inaccurate results. The AgFF Program’s work led to an approach to optimize the colorimetric assay which has been adopted by the State of California into their guidelines for clinical laboratories.
- Further results of our work on cholinesterase have had a demonstrable impact in northwest agricultural safety and health. In 1995, a TAG formed by the WSDLI found that a cholinesterase monitoring program was technically feasible and necessary to protect worker health. The recommendations outlined in the TAG report, Cholinesterase Monitoring in Washington State, were used by the Washington State Supreme Court to decide if a monitoring system was feasible and their recommendations greatly informed the resulting program [Washington State Department of Labor and Industries 2006]. In 2000, the Washington State Supreme Court mandated that the WSDLI develop a Cholinesterase Monitoring Program for workers handling acutely toxic pesticides. The new rule was implemented in February 2004, requiring agricultural employers to provide blood testing to workers who handle organophosphorus and carbamate pesticides [Washington State Department of Labor and Industries 2005].
- OSHA used the NIOSH criteria document entitled NIOSH Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Logging from Felling to First Haul for a proposed logging standard [NIOSH 1976] as the basis for the 1994 OSHA logging standard [29 CFR3 1910.266]. Additional NIOSH recommendations for first-aid training requirements prohibited felling practices, personal protective equipment use, and equipment training requirements were adopted by OSHA in their logging standard.
- 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.
- 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 Transportation Safety Board 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.
- 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.
- 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 US Coast Guard has entered an MOA with NIOSH to create 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:
- 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
- USCG Sector Seattle used CFID data to assess the fatality problem in their area of responsibility
- 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.
- 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
- NOAA requested data from the NIOSH Commercial Fishing Incident Database to assess the impact of rationalized fisheries on fatality rates in these fisheries.
- Oregon FACE Program used data from CFID to identify fatalities and non-fatal vessel disasters in the Oregon Dungeness Crab fishery.
- 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
- 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”.
- Northeast Center for Agricultural Health has used NIOSH CFID data to identify project areas to work on to improving safety in the Northeast fishing fleet.
- The Southwest Center for Agricultural Health used NIOSH CFID data to gain more information regarding falls overboard fatalities in the Gulf of Mexico Region
- 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.
- The USCG, US Marine Safety Association and PFD manufacturers are all now organizing promotions highlighting the availability of new and improved PFDs based on NIOSH research revealing fisherman’s acceptance of PFDs.
- 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.
- Page last reviewed: October 25, 2012 (archived document)
- Content source:
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Office of the Director