Rural Agricultural Health and Safety – Models and Innovations
These stories feature model programs and successful rural projects that can serve
as a source of ideas and provide lessons others have learned. Some of the projects
or programs may no longer be active. Read about the
criteria and evidence-base for programs included.
Need: To increase use of hearing protection among farmers and farmworkers.
Intervention: Researchers mailed an assortment of hearing protection devices to farmers and provided web-based information about hearing conservation to see which method or combination of methods was most effective.
Results: All participants increased their use of hearing protection. The largest increase occurred in those who received hearing protection devices in the mail.
Need: To encourage farmers to make health and safety changes on their farms.
Intervention: Farm Dinner Theater is an event in which farmers and their families watch three 10-minute plays covering health and safety topics and then discuss solutions to the issues addressed in each.
Results: In a study, farmers who attended the plays were more likely to make changes and tell others what they learned, compared to farmers who received an educational packet with the same information.
Need: Farmers are highly susceptible to permanent hearing loss due to prolonged exposure to loud machinery and livestock.
Intervention: Faculty and students from the audiology department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison supplied earplugs, free hearing testing, and hearing loss prevention education to attendees and participants at a local tractor pull.
Results: More than 16,000 pairs of earplugs have been distributed, and attendees have been receptive to the hearing loss prevention education provided by the audiology team.
Need: In 2014, the Avera St. Benedict Health Center's emergency department experienced a drastic increase in the amount of Hutterite patients with farm-related injuries.
Intervention: The South Dakota Critical Access Hospital created a program to educate Hutterite communities on farm hazards and safe work practices.
Results: Since the program began in 2015, the Avera St. Benedict emergency department has had no life-threatening agricultural injury admissions from the Hutterite communities. Attendees have said their confidence in their ability to identify hazards has increased, and more of them are using safety equipment on a regular basis.
Need: Agricultural producers and Pennsylvania's diverse farmworker population needed guidance on complying with Environmental Protection Agency regulations on the safe use of pesticides used in agricultural production.
Intervention: An outreach education program providing compliance and technical assistance for growers was developed which included culturally appropriate training materials targeted to workers.
Results: Pesticide use training and other farm safety information is now readily available to Pennsylvania's farmers and farmworkers.