Land-grant experts create awareness to prevent injuries in agriculture

Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the United States. Across the nation, people who work or live on farms and ranches are regularly exposed to dangerous machinery, sharp tools, toxic chemicals, biological pathogens, confined spaces, extreme temperatures and other hazards that can cause injuries or deaths. These incidents can have a ripple effect on the economic and social well-being of their communities.Although researchers, educators, government and industry have made farms and ranches safer, improvements are still needed. Therefore, to increase awareness, a committee of experts at land-grant universitiesacross the United Stateshas worked to pinpoint the knowledge, outreach, engineering and legislation needed to prevent work-related injury, illnessand deathsince 2000. Diverse expertise enables the committee to tackle a wide range of risks from multiple angles. The committee has fostered numerous collaborations and generated an estimated $45 million to support their efforts.This committee supports agricultural safety and health research, Extension and teaching at land-grant universities by advocating for additional funding to be allocated to agricultural safety and health issues. In addition, the groupencouragesand supportsspecialist positions at universities to study, adviseand teach agricultural safety and health in each state. Further, the committee maintains the Agricultural Safety and Health eXtension Community of Practice, which currently totals more than 100 members from more than40 universities and organizations and receives more than 45,000 visits each year (up from 11,802 the first year). The committee also recognizes researchers and educators who are addressing agricultural safety and health issues through award nominations and other distinctions.In just the last five years, the committee’s training efforts reached at least 300,000 farmers and ranchers, helping them avoid injuries and deaths.The committee’s findings and advocacy have influenced engineers, manufacturers and policymakers, resulting in new design guidelines and regulations that make machines and facilities safer. Recent efforts have also bolstered infrastructure support for agricultural health and safety research, Extension and teaching.

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