NIOSH Funds 11 Agricultural Centers to Focus on Safety and Health

NIOSH Funds 11 Agricultural Centers to Focus on Safety and Health

The newest Agricultural Center is the Great Lakes Center for Farmworker Health and Wellbeing at the University of Illinois Chicago.

This week, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently announced in a press release it is funding a total of 11 Centers for Agricultural Safety and Health (Ag Centers) across the United States.

The 11 Ag Centers are in various states including New York, Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Colorado, Washington and California. The newest Ag Center to join the others is the Great Lakes Center for Farmworker Health and Wellbeing at the University of Illinois Chicago. This specific Ag Center will rework surveys and identify injuries and illnesses farmworkers are exposed to, NIOSH says.

Started in 1990, Ag Centers play a role in the health and safety of Agricultural, Forestry and Fishing (AgFF) industries. In the last 30 years, the fatal injury rate in these industries has been declining, but in 2020, it increased to 21.5 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers, according to the press release. The average fatal injury rate across all industries is 3.4 deaths per 100,000 workers.

“For decades, the Ag Centers have been integral to our efforts to reduce injury and illness in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing sector,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D in the press release. “The addition of the new Illinois Center expands the regional scope in NIOSH’s capacity to address the growing need for research and interventions to address the mental health and wellbeing of agriculture workers.”

According to NIOSH, the Ag Centers use “research, education, and prevention projects” to help reduce numbers like these along with non-fatal injuries and illnesses.

Not only does every center deal with issues corresponding with local regions, but they also work together on larger projects and initiatives. These include the Ag Center’s YouTube channel and NIOSH projects like pesticide illness & injury surveillance and commercial fishing safety.

About the Author

Alex Saurman is the Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.

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