Responding to emerging agricultural safety and health hazards.
New technological solutions such as air sensors, mobile device applications, and e-campaigns are being deployed to the front lines of hazardous agricultural work. Our projects focus on characterizing, translating, and communicating best practices for managing emerging hazards like SARS-CoV-2, wildfire smoke, heat-related illness, and new pesticide products. The primary goal is to promote adoption of these practices within existing agricultural decision support systems.
Preventing farmworker exposure to pesticide drift.
We developed two models that indicated sprayer type, orchard architecture, wind velocity, and receptor location are key factors affecting pesticide drift in orchard work environments. A precision agriculture approach offers technological solutions that can track pesticide use and modulate sprayer settings for changing weather conditions. These findings have been incorporated into new training materials to improve the practice of pesticide application and documenting drift events.
Tracking disease trends in occupational safety and health.
Epidemiologic surveillance systems at the state and national levels monitor reports of occupational diseases and workplace hazards. Our research utilizes existing data sources (e.g. medical records, poison control center call logs, workers compensation claims, and survey data) to provide information about worker health to the public, practitioners, policy makers, and researchers. This work aims to enhance understanding about the frequency, magnitude, and characteristics of work-related illnesses in the Pacific Northwest.