Screening Events to Reduce Farmers' Hazardous Exposures

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • May, John J.;
  • Earle-Richardson, Giulia;
  • Jenkins, Paul;
  • Scofield, Sharon M.;
  • Stack, Suzanne G.


Dairy farmers may be exposed to high levels of noise and dust. Protections against these hazards exist, but many farmers do not use them. An intervention consisting of hearing and respiratory screenings combined with personalized education was implemented. This study evaluates the impact of this intervention on farmers' self-reported use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and implementation of noise and dust abatement. Participants were screened as to noise (N = 209) or dust (N = 392) hazards and use of PPE. Following this, they were counseled on PPE use, and identification and reduction of noise or dust hazards. Counselors sought a pledge from the farmers to eliminate hazards and increase PPE use. Farmers were subsequently surveyed and asked whether they had implemented the changes. At baseline, 70% (146/209) of farmers exposed to high levels of noise reported poor use ("sometimes," "rarely," or "never") of hearing protection. Results indicated that two months after intervention, 25.2% (28/111) of these subjects had successfully improved their PPE use. At baseline, 79% (311/392) of farmers reported poor use of respiratory protection, with 27.3% (41/150) showing improvement in PPE use within the same time. Strategies to reduce noise hazards were identified by 92.8% (194/209) of hearing screening attendees; 13.2% (18/136) successfully reduced or removed exposure. These values for dust screening attendees were 98.2% (385/392) and 30.7% (54/176), respectively. Use of this intervention appears to be an effective method for increasing PPE use on the farm. However, it is not effective for reducing noise hazards.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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