Efficacy of Education

There is little published work demonstrating the efficacy of agricultural safety and health education programs on reducing the frequency and severity of agricultural injuries and diseases. This lack of evidence is largely due to the lack of emphasis given to program evaluation by those organizations and agencies traditionally involved in agricultural safety and health. However, a number of studies have clearly demonstrated that educational programs, if implemented well, can enhance the safety and health of those engaged in agriculture (16,17).

Youths participating in a 4H club-sponsored tractor operator safety training program were observed to be better and safer operators than youths who had not participated but operated tractors regularly. Farmers were found to be more likely to reduce or eliminate hazards on their farms if they had been given a manual on safety and health best management practices compared to a control group that had not received the manual. High school agricultural education students were found to perform equally well using either a computer-based form of instruction or traditional instructor-based teaching methods in acquiring core competencies related to agricultural tractor and machinery operation. Farmers were found to be less likely to have been involved in a flowing grain-related incident if they had participated in training that addressed the dangers of flowing grain (18,19).

It appears that current funding criteria place greater emphasis on program evaluation, which should quickly close the current gap in definitive findings on the value of education in agricultural safety and health.

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