Enhancing Agricultural Safety & Health Through Education

Project Title: Enhancing Agricultural Safety & Health Through Education

Principal Investigator: David L. Parker, M.D.

Affiliation: Minnesota Department of Health

City & State: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Grant Number: 1 R01 CCR514360-01

Start & End Dates: 09/30/97 – 09/29/00


The aims of this proposal are three-fold: (1) Develop and implement curricula for adolescents which focus on work-related hazard recognition and problem solving skills within production agriculture; (2) evaluate whether the implemented curricula have increased knowledge about agricultural injuries/fatalities and changed behaviors concerning agricultural/worker health and safety and hazard recognition and control; and (3) establish ongoing community-wide support for the curricula. Five rural schools within Meeker, Mcleod, and Sibley counties have agreed to participate in the study. A community-based partnership will be formed consisting of local teachers, public health nurses, agricultural extension agents, and personnel from the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health. This study builds upon the NIOSH funded Community Partners in Healthy Farming surveillance system now in place in these counties.

Curricula for teachers and students will be developed by a curriculum development specialist in conjunction with the study partnership. Curricula will provide students with the ability to resolve diverse health and safety problems in a variety of agricultural and work settings. Materials will be integrated into the school curriculum to assure the ongoing education of subsequent cohorts. A teacher in-service curriculum will be designed to educate teachers about agricultural and work processes, work and adolescent development, and farm health and safety.

The study was designed to measure the effect of the new curricula on student knowledge and behavior. The five participating schools will be matched as closely as possible by size, and assigned to either the intervention or non-intervention group (non-equivalent no-treatment control group design). Students in the intervention schools will receive new curricula and those in control schools the standard curriculum. Process and outcome evaluations will be used to assess the intervention. Data from student pretest/posttests will be analyzed using regression analysis and repeated measures analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) with student pretest scores serving as the covariate. This statistical procedure will adjust for possible pretest differences between student in the intervention schools and students in the non-intervention schools (non-equivalence of the intervention and non-intervention groups). During the third year, all county schools will be offered an opportunity to integrate new curricula into existing programs. Results are potentially applicable to a broad range of agricultural communities throughout the United States.

Page last reviewed: August 30, 2001