NIOSH has launched a new Center for Agricultural Safety and Health based at the University of Illinois Chicago that will focus on farmworker health and well-being. The newest center joins existing centers in California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Texas and Washington. The centers focus on outreach and research related to agriculture, forestry and fishing research.
The Great Lakes Center for Farmworker Health and Wellbeing will aim to amplify research efforts in farmworker health and well-being, as well as foster relationships with researchers, policy makers, advocacy groups and healthcare organizations. Initial projects include adapting existing worker well-being surveys to address the unique nature of agricultural settings and using medical records to identify and characterize farmworker illness and injury.
"Each center specializes in the distinct agricultural, forestry, and fishing industries and worker safety and health needs of their region," says Jennifer Lincoln, associate director for NIOSH's Office of Agriculture Safety and Health. "Having a new center that covers the Great Lakes area and focuses on worker health and well-being is a welcome and timely addition to the centers’ capacity to conduct research, train workers and promote best practices.”
Despite steady declines in fatalities in the agricultural, forestry and fishing over the past 30 years, in 2020, workers in this sector experienced the highest fatal injury rate at 21.5 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers, compared to a rate of 3.4 deaths per 100,000 workers for all U.S. industries.