Diversity of the Work Force

Agricultural production is carried out by a wide range of individuals with substantially different physical characteristics, ages, educational background, and language skills. A review of farm-related fatality data will disclose cases involving tractor operators who are under the age of 10 and over the age of 90. Farmers, ranchers, and agricultural workers bring to their work everything from a minimal education in Mexico to a Ph.D. in soil science. There appears to be no research that has demonstrated a significant relationship between educational background and propensity to be involved in a fatal farm-related incident, and even less on the educational methodologies that are needed to reach such a diverse audience effectively (21).

An increasingly complex issue for agricultural safety and health educators is the growing proportion of the agricultural work force that speaks English as a second language and has limited reading comprehension skills. Traditional safety and health education methodologies are not appropriate for these audiences who will require a greater use of verbal and visually based instruction (12).

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