Farm Theater: A Novel Safety Strategy Approach for Agricultural Communities

  • Reed, Deborah (PI)
  • Teaster, Pamela (CoI)
  • Witt, Cheryl (CoI)
  • Cole, Henry (Former CoI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Farm Theater: A Novel Safety Strategy Approach for Agricultural Communities Specific Aims: Excessive worker injury rates continue in agriculture. Adult and senior farmers in the Southern U.S. region experience some of the highest occupational injury and mortality in the nation. In this community intervention study we will refine and test a novel method, didactic readers theater, to reduce risk and prevent or minimize exposure to hazardous conditions in the agricultural workplace for adult and senior farmers and their families in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The secondary purpose is to support community sustainability for future health and safety efforts. The project translates significant scientific findings into prevention practices by building on two key NIOSH funded studies previously conducted by the PI of this proposal. The project targets NORA sector: Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, Strategic goals 2, 3, 4, and 5, and the cross sectors of work organization, health disparities, traumatic injury, and stress.related disorders. The specific aims are to: 1. Develop and deliver, in cooperation with the farm community, a translational intervention, didactic readers theater, to reduce injury and enhance the health of adult and senior farmers, and their families. 2. Test the efficacy of the agricultural health/safety didactic readers theater in changing farm work behavior 3. Strengthen the local capacity of agricultural communities and organizations to develop and deliver effective health and safety interventions, through theater and other approaches identified in the project, over time (sustainability). These efforts create a synergy that may change injury rates, but farm families are slow to accept change (Neufeld, 2005). To effect change more readily the local agricultural community�fs beliefs, value, culture, and environment must be considered and the community must be involved both in planning and implementing these efforts (Neufeld, 2005; Neufeld, Wright, & Gaut, 2002; Thompson & Kinne, 1990; Mitchell et al, 2008). Two recently completed studies, R01 Sustained Work Indicators of Farmers ages 50 and over, and R21 Strategies for Safety of Older Farmers, provide empirical evidence of the work organization, values and culture of the agricultural community in assessing risk and altering behavior. The latter study, just completed in July 2013, yielded a consensus statement from farmers and professionals who work with farmers: �gSenior farmers and their families are aware of the risks they face in the agricultural environment, yet the injury and illness rates remain high. Attention to health and safety interventions for aging farmers should be developed and tested, but interventions must represent the values and culture of farm communities. Any successful program or guide must consider a farmer�fs need to be part of the farming process, recognize the valuable input senior farmers offer to the agricultural community, provide resources that are realistic and allow the senior farmer to make his/her own decisions about adaptations, and utilize venues that are trusted by the farming community. Work should go forward to decrease the excessive fatality rates of senior farmers, protect their right to work, and promote the overall health of the family unit. Attention should also be turned to the psychological well�]being of the farmer and the family. Stress, both in the occupation and in the home, must be regarded as a leading challenge as age advances. The results underscore the importance of the NIOSH Total Worker Health. model and its relationship to the vital agricultural community.�h An innovative strategy, didactic readers theater, was piloted in response to the above statement. Reception to the approach was overwhelmingly positive. Within one week 30 % of the participants (N=33) reported significant farm safety changes. This study will build on that model and holds great promise of reducing injury and illness in this vulnerable workforce. KEYWORDS: Agriculture, Injury, Aging, Farmwork
Effective start/end date9/1/148/31/15


  • National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health: $191,995.00


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