About the Program
The main priority of our program is to train Agricultural Safety and Health (ASH) professionals who can address emerging areas in the field. The ASH program has been focusing on the effects of labor-intensive practices on the musculoskeletal system of farmworkers. This will continue to be an important area of focus in the future, in addition to the emerging ASH topic areas.
Agriculture has one of the highest occupational non-fatal injury rates for all industries, and California is no exception (CDIR, 2019). California's nonfatal agricultural injury rate stands at 5.3 per 100 full-time workers; the highest among all industries in the state. According to NIOSH, the estimated rate of disabling injuries for agricultural workers is 243 per day, and 5% result in permanent disability (NIOSH, 2014). California estimates that more than 800,000 workers and 120,000+ operators are in fields each year (Martin, 2016; USDA, 2019). Agriculture, including California's, has one of the highest disabling occupational injury rates and cost among all industries (Leigh, Cone, & Harrison, 2001; Leigh, Waehrer, Miller, & Keenan, 2004; Kirkhorn et al., 2010; Fathallah, 2010, McCurdy et al., 2013; Leigh, Du and McCurdy, 2014; Pinzke et al., 2018; NIOSH, 2018). Despite these alarming statistics, this program continues to be the only formal training program in agricultural health and safety in California.
Goals of the Program
The overall goal of the program is to produce effective agricultural safety and health specialists who will serve California, other areas of Region 9, and United States agriculture as a whole. The program's specific objective is to train at least three doctoral students per year with interdisciplinary skills in agricultural safety and health research and practice.