Agriculture and Climate Change Impacts on Workers' Health and Safety

Project: Research project

Project Details


? DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Climate change is here and is predicted to cause dramatic changes in the environment, especially increased episodes of heat, dust and allergens. Very little is being addressed at this time on the effects of climate change on occupational risks of farmers and farm workers. Latino immigrants make up at least 85% of the agricultural work force in California. Without a basic understanding of the nature and magnitude of climate-induced health risks in these vulnerable populations, effective public health interventions cannot be implemented. In addition these groups experience disproportionate rates of occupational injuries and illness within the agricultural sector because of social or psychosocial factors, which lead to increased workplace exposures and susceptibilities. The overall goal of this project is to understand the knowledge level and perceptions of both farm workers and farmers/farm labor contractors concerning climate change so that stakeholders can obtain a better understanding of the factors that will increasingly affect health and safety in the agricultural environment. Our goal is to obtain quantitative and qualitative data on broad community experiences with climate change to improve health outcomes. The research will take place in California's San Joaquin Valley because this is a major agricultural area that already experiences extended periods of high heat and air pollution. The project has three aims. In Specific Aim 1, knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and reported behaviors regarding climate change and its effects on occupational health and safety hazards as a result of poor air quality, extreme heat temperatures and drought will be assessed. Knowledge and perceptions will be examined among a broad base of stakeholders, including farm workers, farmers, and farm labor contractors, using key informant interviews, focus groups and questionnaires. In Specific Aim 2, a coalition of researchers working on climate change and regulators (such as state agencies) will be established and convened to specifically determine possible effects on agriculture, health, disease and safety (e.g., effects on machinery, safety systems) over three years to coordinate information, provide updates and determine likely occupational health and safety effects. Lastly, in Specific Aim 3, findings will initiate translational development of adaptive an educational programs tailored to the agricultural community to increase the awareness of proper practices to reduce the risk climate-change induced safety and health decrements and disease (R2P: Research to Practice). Research effectiveness will be measured through the following outputs: publications, reports, annual community forum proceedings, presentations/posters, investigator career development, tools, guidelines, recommendations and development of educational and training materials. Outcomes measured may include public or private policy changes, trainings or workshops based on project outputs and citations in the literature. The study addresses the following NIOSH/NORA cross sector programs: exposure assessment, occupational health disparities, prevention through design and global collaborations to reduce climate-induced disease in agricultural workers.
Effective start/end date9/1/168/31/19


  • National Institutes of Health: $274,999.00


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