Farmers over age 55 make up over one-half of the principal operators of the 2.2 million U.S. farms, with over 25% of the farms being operated by farmers over age 65. Fatalities to older farmers comprised over half of all adult farm fatalities between 1992 and 2004. Currently, there are no guidelines for fitness for work of aging farmers. Although farmers may be well informed about safety practices, knowledge alone is not enough to change behaviors (Cole, 2002). Strategies for safety that engage the farmer in decision making about his/her farm work choices and injury risks, that are founded on sound principles, and that include input of farmers and other professionals, should be developed. This exploratory project is a result of the first conference on the aging farmer, recent research on work and health of the aging farmer conducted by the PI, and recently completed inquiry on aging farmer work guidelines in Canada. The project combines the expertise of leading researchers to take the first step toward injury prevention interventions that can be used by farmers and those that interact with them. This project will replicate the consensus-development methodology used to develop The North American Guidelines for Children s Agricultural Tasks (NAGCAT). Eight focus groups of farmers over age 55 (n = 40) and their family members (n = 40) in four states will guide the focus, realism, and applicability of the future interventions. Four meetings with interdisciplinary professionals (n=80) (ag health and safety professionals, gerontologists, cooperative extension, and others) will provide formats to begin consensus development of the focus of the safety strategies and build capacity for future work to develop and test work interventions and guidelines. The long term goal of the project is to develop strategies and products to assist older adults and their families in selecting appropriate and safe farm jobs that are acceptable to the senior farmers and their families.
The specific aims are to: 1. Identify the top ten hazardous tasks of older farmers. 2. Develop a job hazard analysis matrix that includes the task hazards, minimum ability set, personal risk factors and action plan for the top ten hazardous tasks. 3. Test the feasibility of developing work guidelines or other injury prevention interventions for these hazards. 4. Establish sustainable work groups to design and test strategies and interventions identified in the consensus statement.
The long term goal of the project is to develop strategies and products to assist older adults and their families in selecting appropriate and safe farm jobs that are acceptable to the senior farmers and their families. This project directly impacts public health by focusing on Sections 20.1 and 20.2 of Healthy People 2010: to reduce the number of work-related deaths and injuries to workers.
|Reed, D B; Claunch, D T (2015) Protecting Ourselves from Harm: Voices of Aging Farmers. J Agric Saf Health 21:269-79|