An occupational health and safety intervention research agenda for production agriculture: Does safety education work?

Dennis J. Murphy, Nancy Ellen Kiernan, Larry J. Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


It is clear that agriculture has not kept pace with other hazardous industries in reducing its injury rate. For example, between 1960 and 1990 the work death rate for agriculture decreased only 28% while the work death rates decreased 65% for mining and 55% for construction [Purschwitz (1992)]. A national conference in Iowa in 1988 came to the forceful conclusion that 'America's most productive workforce was being systematically liquidated by an epidemic of occupational disease and traumatic death and injury' [NCASH (1988)]. In 1991, the nation's top public health officer, the U.S. Surgeon General, convened a conference titled 'FarmSafe 2000-A National Coalition for Local Action,' to formally address agricultural safety and health issues. Importantly, conferees recognized that preventing injury and disease was superior to trying to rehabilitate people after an injury occurred. But does participation in farm safety and health educational programs lead to a reduction in risk of injury from farm work? Questions are being raised about the value of farm safety and health educational information, campaigns, programs, and related activities. The questions have identified a critical gap in the literature of farm safety and health education. There is currently no good evidence demonstrating that farm safety and health education, campaigns, programs, or related activities lead to a relatively stable reduction of risk on the farm. In other words, do farmers and their families actually put to use, in a relatively permanent or stable manner, the educational information regarding elimination, reduction, or control of physical hazards and the modification of work behavior that may cause injury?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)392-396
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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