Making Safety a Priority with Farm Women

  • Baker, David E.;
  • Thompson, G. W.

The Extension Safety and Health Program, sponsored by the Univ. of Missouri-Columbia (MU) and NIOSH has worked successfully at targeting women in making safety and health a priority on the farm and in the home. Recognizing the active role women are taking in farming, we are training them to become safety and health advocates.

A local planning committee organizes the Farm Women's Safety and Health Workshop. The one-day workshops have included: tractor and machinery safety, chemical safety, livestock safety, basic emergency first aid, fundamentals of hazard prevention, forage equipment and storage, health hazards, harvest safety, fire extinguishers, grain handling, purchasing parts, and hands-on tractor safety.

Thirty-four Farm Women's Safety and Health Programs have been presented with 643 participants in a three-year period. The workshops were highly rated with a mean score of 4.40 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest rating).

Workshop participants are asked to complete a safety questionnaire at the beginning of each workshop. In the second year, 143 questionnaires were completed by workshop participants. Follow-up mail surveys were mailed to second-year participants, after allowing six months to one year for attitude and behavior changes to occur. The questionnaire was completed and returned by 96 of those surveyed (66% return rate). Significant gains in safety practices were observed from the questionnaires. Using the Chi-square analysis, of the sixty questions in the questionnaire, twenty-three showed a statistically significant difference in safety practices observed on the farm.

The results of a Chi-square analysis showed a higher frequency of participants that felt moderately to fully prepared in determining what to do first in an accident situation (21.2% increase from pre-response). A higher frequency of children are always being turned down when they ask to ride on a tractor (23.2% increase). Increases of 15.6% of the participants were familiar with machinery operations of their farm. The Chi-square analysis showed a higher frequency of participants that sometimes and always wore seat belts with ROPS-equipped tractors (17.2% increase). The analysis showed a higher frequency of machinery operators that always avoid wearing loose or torn clothing (39% increase).

Additional survey results showed 79% of the participants were interested in another Farm Women's Safety and Health Workshop. Forty-five percent of the women that received notebooks from the workshops have used these resources one to two times after the workshop.

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.

G.W. Thompson and D.E. Baker, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO.

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