The Occupational Health Nurses in Agricultural Communities (OHNAC) project is a case-based surveillance system. Through it, a number of pesticide exposures were identified. At the same time, farmers were asking about the new Worker Protection Standard and county extension agents were requesting that nurses present in the Pesticide Recertification Course. In response, a multi-faceted approach was undertaken to address these needs.
Two case reports were published in The Ohio Farmer. As a result, a number of farmers requested laboratory testing and/or medical evaluations because of prior exposures. Educational materials, demonstrations, case management and referrals have been provided as appropriate.
To improve compliance with the Worker Protection Standard, communities developed kits to reduce the risk when accidental spills occurred. In Southwestern Ohio, Landmark provided kits with personal protective equipment and decontamination supplies. In North Central Ohio, a kit was developed with first aid items and decontamination supplies. Generous donations of local agricultural businesses reduced the final cost to farmers.
Educational segments were developed for the Pesticide Recertification Courses. Demonstrations on the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) included how to remove protective gear without contaminating oneself.
These interventions were designed to reduce the exposure and disability that might occur from agricultural pesticide usage. Evaluation so far includes one farmer who has already used the eyewash in the field when a chemical splash occurred. An on-going evaluation will be completed as farmers return enclosed post cards indicating how they used the kit and what additional items are needed.
This research abstract was extracted from a portion of the proceedings of "Agricultural Safety and Health: Detection, Prevention and Intervention," a conference presented by the Ohio State University and the Ohio Department of Health, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
M.J. Fleming, Grady Mem. Hospital, Delaware, OH; B. Slabaugh-Wengerd, Wooster Comm. Hospital, Wooster, OH; P. Fornshell, Clinton Memorial Hospital, Wilmington, OH.
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