The Great Plains Center at the University of Iowa is doing a study on what factors contribute to safer farms. The study involves a 60-90 minute farm visit, with appointments available 7 days a week and compensation is $50. They’re promoting the study through a Facebook event page, so if you’re interested you can check out the event page through the link below.
One of the professors I work with at the University of Iowa is looking for people to test a training program for people who train and supervise agricultural workers under the age of 21. Participants who complete the training a survey will earn $50, and if you complete a second survey 3 months later, you can earn another $50. The training and survey can be done online and take about an hour to complete. Over half of occupational fatalities involving people under the age of 21 are in ag. I haven’t seen exactly what is in the training program, but my guess is that it covers a lot of the material that our university ag safety courses cover on the safety risks to younger workers and strategies that can be used to help prevent younger workers from getting hurt on the farm. Here is the link to the study website if you would like to participate!
October is Ergonomics month so I thought I’d mix some ergonomics articles in with the harvest safety articles. The article I’m sharing today is from the local channel 2 news in Iowa City about a farm equipment vibrations study by two University of Iowa professors. I’ve been able to see some of the equipment for their study and it’s really neat.
Vibration has been studied extensively in other jobs like construction work and trucking, but this is one of the few studies that has focused on farm equipment. Full body vibration is a major cause of lower back pain, and can cause pain in other parts of the body too. There are a number of strategies for reducing the effects of vibration, although some of the strategies are not very practical for farmers: reduce the number of hours spent operating equipment, sit up straight and don’t twist or bend while operating equipment, invest in newer machines that require less force to operate the controls…Other strategies such as wearing a back brace or taking a break to get up and stretch every hour or so are more practical, but there have been mixed results as to whether or not they are effective at preventing vibration-related pain. Vibration-reducing seats have been shown to reduce exposure and increase comfort levels for truckers, and are available for tractors too. They can be pretty pricey (A quick Google search came up with models ranging in price from $150-$2000) but might be worth the investment if it makes driving more comfortable.
Data collection for the 2017 Census of Agriculture is winding down! The deadline for submitting paper surveys was June 15th, and the online survey will be open until the end of July. The data collected in the census is used to make decisions at the county, state, and federal level so it’s important to complete the survey if you were selected! This data set is an important resource for anyone trying to understand agriculture in the US, and I’ve used the 2012 data in pretty much every ag study I’ve participated in. If you still haven’t filled out your survey click here to open the census of agricuture website.
Here is an article from Farm Journals: Pork that gives a summary of a research study that was recent released in the academic journal Injury Prevention. This research was in some ways similar to what I’m trying to do with this online system. The study analyzed news reports of farming injuries that have been collected by AgInjuryNews.org. It found that tractors were the most common source of injury overall, but that all terrain vehicles were the most common source of injury for children under the age of 18. The article also highlights some of the gaps in information about ag injuries, which is the problem I’m trying to address with this project. It just goes to show that even with some of the really creative ways researchers have come up with to try to better understand and prevent farming injuries, we still have a long way to go.