Role of Education in the Safety Hierarchy

In addition to the "three E's model" of achieving safety (engineering, education, and enforcement), various forms of the hierarchy of safety have been utilized by the agricultural safety and health profession. Each of these models typically includes an educational component, but most place it at the bottom of the structure or list of priorities. The steps in the hierarchy of one commonly used model are summarized as follows:

1. Remove or eliminate the hazard.

2. Guard the hazard from inadvertent contact.

3. Warn the user/operator of the potential hazard.

4. Protect the user/operator with personal protective equipment.

5. Train the user/operator to avoid contact with the hazard.

Examples of how this hierarchy of safe design applies to agricultural hazards are shown in Table 5.1. Other models of injury prevention include the application of human factors and ergonomics to the design process, a risk management approach, and the public health model. Little attention is given to education in the development of these models. There is no question that an educational component is there, but it is often buried in narrow professional language that most professional educators find uncomfortable. This includes terms such as behavioral management, acceptable risks, cost-benefit analysis, and humans being referred to as "hosts" (2).

Table 5.1. Applications of hierarchy of safe design to selected agricultural hazards. Hazard Solution based on utilizing each step in the hierarchy

Falls from upright silos

Entanglements in grain augers

Entanglement in power takeoff drive lines

Tractor rollover injuries

Increased risk of youths being injured while operating agricultural equipment

Convert feed storage to use of bunk silos or silage bagging to eliminate the need for climbing silos and the potential risk of falls from silos. Guard exposed auger flighting to meet American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE) guarding standards to prevent physical contact with the rotating auger and still allow auger to function Place "DANGER" safety messages on the drive-line shaft beneath shielding to warn operator of hazards when shield is removed Install rollover protective structure (ROPS) on tractor to provide a zone of protection for the operator in the event of overturn Require youths to complete training

Source: From Murphy (2).

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