Development of a Community Theater Troupe: Health and Farm Safety Training for Hispanic Agricultural Workers
 (NIOSH/CDC, 2001-2004)

The EWU Center for Farm Health and Safety developed a successful program that uses Spanish-language theater to provide farm workers with information on health hazards and prevention strategies. Based on data gathered from health and safety literature, key informant interviews, and a farm worker focus group, it was apparent that health and safety education must be sensitive to the literacy and language constraints of this worker population. Theater was selected as a method of providing farm health and safety education because it does not require a high level of literacy. The most urgent health and safety needs of Hispanic farm workers and their families were identified through a series of focus groups. The information gathered in the needs assessment was used to develop four one-act plays written and presented in Spanish.

Development of Agricultural Health and Safety Fact Sheet Publications (NIOSH/CDC, 1997-1999)

University of Idaho Departments of Agriculture Communications and Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Oregon State University, and Washington State University, developed a series of Agricultural Safety and Health fact sheet publications that were made available within the Pacific Northwest Region.

Educational Video For Farmworker Ladder Safety and Heat Illness Prevention (MAAF, 2012-2014)

This project expanded the use of two PNASH-produced Spanish radio programs into educational videos for farmworker training. The program topics, to prevent ladder injuries and heat-related illness are in-demand and timely. "Orchard ladders: Life-changing injury stories. Real workers, real events" and "Working in the Heat Novellas. Awareness, Response and Prevention for Heat Illness" can be viewed online on our Ag Centers' collective YouTube channel at, https://www.youtube.com/user/USagCenters.

Feasibility Project: Reducing Occupational Health and Safety Risks among Young Workers in Agriculture through Clinician Engagement (PNASH Small Grant 2011-2013)

Occupational hazards for adolescent farmworkers is a topic many argue is critical, but for which there are few directed research activities. This small project introduced a rapid clinical assessment tool developed by the Migrant Clinicians Network to migrant health care providers. There were challenges in conducting research within a busy clinical setting and new, dynamic organizational changes. However, the involvement of the clinic staff in shaping the tools for this project was successful and the project was able to “field test” the Migrant Clinician Network Rapid Clinical Assessment Tool with the intended audience for the first time. In addition, the project yielded novel data to characterize the work hazard experience of young workers in agriculture. A community engaged approach trained fourteen undergraduate students in the topic and conduct of occupational health research including human subjects training, education on adolescent occupational health and safety issues, survey data analysis and preparation and delivery of results. One hundred forty community youth were surveyed regarding their occupational health perspectives. A manuscript of these findings is in preparation. This project has been a stepping stone for collaboration on research and translation projects between the PNASH and the regional clinical community.

Fluorescent Tracer Component for Hands-on Pesticide Handler Training (NIOSH/CDC, 2004-2007)

We improved education for pesticide handlers through a new hands-on training program and manual, Fluorescent Tracer Manual: An Educational Tool for Pesticide Educators. Due to the training program and manual, pesticide handlers immediately see potential pesticide contamination by viewing results of proper and improper handling techniques. The training was developed and evaluated in collaboration with pesticide safety educators from the Washington State Department of Agriculture and the WSU Agricultural Extension Service. This project transferred to pesticide educators and employers a proven tool for the self-assessment of pesticide exposure, and integrated the technique into existing hands-on pesticide handler training programs. The FT technique in the hands-on pesticide safety trainings has been widely accepted by the educators and the pesticide handlers. Visit our Website for a copy of Fluorescent Tracer Manual: An Educational Tool for Pesticide Educators.

Health and Safety Awareness for Working Teens in Agriculture: Curriculum Evaluation Project (WA MAAF/ NIOSH/CDC, 2005-2008)

This curriculum was developed to teach students in grades 9-12 introductory information about workplace health and safety in an agricultural work environment. The flexible five-unit curriculum addresses the unique job hazards found in an agriculture work setting. The curriculum is composed of interactive age appropriate lessons that help engage students in learning about topics such as:

  • Identifying hazards in an agricultural work setting
  • Child labor regulations that govern agricultural employment
  • Developing solutions to reduce and eliminate hazards
  • Communicating with your supervisor to solve health and safety issues
  • Dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace.

For a copy, visit WORKSAFE.

Introducing a Cholinesterase (ChE) Test Kit into Clinical Practice (NIOSH/CDC 2006-2011)

The ChE Test Kit has been used in countries around the globe and has been reported upon in many studies in the published literature. It has shown good performance when compared to laboratory-based systems. Easy to apply in a clinician’s office, the Test-mate can substantially reduce the time necessary to detect a cholinesterase inhibitor overexposure and will speed the response of the clinician with regard to removing over-exposed workers. This project introduced the Test-mate to clinics and work with large and small programs to facilitate the introduction by developing several "use models" based on the way the clinic conducts testing.

We have shown the Test-mate™ kit to be an effective, cost-efficient test that can provide rapid results for workers – important if they are shown to have a ChE depression. However, test-kit data for red blood cell (RBC) ChE in general did not agree well with the state designated laboratory, so at this time we do not recommend using the test-kit to replace the state designated laboratory for RBC ChE testing.

National Tractor Safety Initiative (NIOSH/CDC, 2005-2008)

Tractors remain the leading cause of death and serious injury in US agriculture. The NIOSH Agricultural Centers collaborated to create a national injury prevention program to address this problem. 

We conducted focus groups as background to promote the initiative and work with national partners to develop communication materials.

Nurse Murf/Enferma Elena (NIOSH/CDC, 2006-2011)

PNASH’s own Helen Murphy, Director of Outreach, is known in Northwest agriculture as "Nurse Murf" or “Enferma Elena.” During her time at PNASH, she provided concise reviews on farm safety topics, sharing the state-of-the-science and injury and illness prevention strategies.

Pesticide Effects: Integration into Health Care Provider Curricula (NIOSH/CDC, 2005-2011)

The goal of this project was to improve the training of health care providers in the diagnosis, care, and prevention of pesticide poisonings among those who work with pesticides. This project will advance EPA’s goal to protect human health and address the intent of the Pesticide Registration and Improvement Act through improved poisoning reporting.

The project developed, tested, and distributed innovative materials for integrating the core competencies, as outlined in National Pesticide Competency Guidelines for Medical and Nursing Education, into the curricula of medical, public health, nursing, physician assistant and advanced nurse practitioner programs. The project enlisted students and faculty in these schools to assist in the development and introduction of these modules in their respective schools, thus developing a new cadre of “champions” in this and the next generation. Additionally, the project carefully monitored the introduction process across a broad range of curricular models in order to identify the most successful approaches to integrating these materials into the curricula. The program products were then tested regionally in preparation for national distribution.

Pesticide Safety in Tree Fruit: Translating Research, Overcoming Barriers (NIOSH/CDC 2011-2016)

By providing access to information and solutions, orchard owners, managers, and handlers will be better equipped to protect workers from potential pesticide exposure and illness. This collaborative translation project capitalizes on the expertise of two institutions, the PNASH Center’s health and safety research and the WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center’s research and outreach expertise within the agricultural community. The project uses new approaches to existing communication channels and evaluation methods.

In FY2013 we continued our educational dissemination and evaluation providing seven English and three Spanish trainings, and reached over 1800 participants. All but one English and one Spanish presentation incorporated the use of an audience response cards (“clickers”) allowing us to gather substantial audience feedback on pesticide handler’s interest, transfer and adoption of the interventions/solutions and messages. Our guide, Practical Solutions for Pesticide Safety (released 2012) is proving to be in-demand. This product’s communication model could be effective in other industry sectors as well, as it speaks directly from “farmer to farmer.”

In parallel, this project launched in FY2013 a process to engage the variety of stakeholders/leadership in pesticide education in Washington State. In the fall of 2013 we conducted interviews with 49 stakeholders using an advanced social science methodology called Q-sort. Many participants said they found the Q-sort activity interesting and appreciated seeing viewpoints (in the statement cards) that were both like and very unlike their own. We are now following up on this first phase of individual interview, with workshops to convene leadership for a joint discussion, and guided by the Q-sort results.

Pilot: GRAS2P Food Safety Video (PNASH Pilot 2013-2014)

This video project will integrate current pesticide safety standards into the video, Fieldworker Orientation and Food Safety/Orientation/Orientation para el Trabajador Agricola y Seguridad Alimenticia. It will be bilingual and will be used by growers and workers in WA and across the US to insure effective food safety practices. This product is being developed by the Washington State Horticultural Association and local partners under the program GRAS2P (Growers Response to Agriculture, Safe and Sustainable Practices).