The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Program conducts surveillance initiatives to understand the injuries and illnesses among agricultural workers, identify vulnerable groups, and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions. This report assesses the feasibility and desirability of carrying out specific actions recommended by an independent panel regarding program relevance and impact.
- What actions could be taken to address panel recommendations directly related to surveillance?
- What is the overall achievability of each action, based on criteria relating to feasibility and desirability?
Agriculture remains one of America's oldest and most valued industries, but is also one of the most hazardous, with farmworkers experiencing high rates of injuries and illnesses. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH) Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (AgFF) Program provides leadership to prevent harm to workers in the three named sectors. Since its inception, the AgFF Program has spearheaded numerous surveillance initiatives to understand the magnitude of injuries and illnesses among agricultural worker populations, identify vulnerable groups, and evaluate the effectiveness of intervention measures.
In 2012, the program underwent a review from an independent panel convened to evaluate progress in program relevance and impact. While the panel offered a number of recommendations for improving surveillance, it provided little guidance on how to prioritize and achieve the recommendations. In 2015, NIOSH asked the RAND Corporation to assess options for action in response to panel recommendations. The goal of this report is to provide NIOSH with a practical assessment of the feasibility and desirability of carrying out actions to meet surveillance-related panel recommendations, given current AgFF Program resources and priorities.
The authors conducted literature reviews and targeted interviews to detail how actions could be implemented and identify barriers to their achievement. For each action, the authors applied criteria relevant to assessing feasibility (costs, partnership engagement, information availability and accessibility, policy barriers, timelines) and desirability (relevance to program priorities, information quality, and impact). Overall, the report identifies a number of actions that balanced both feasibility and desirability for NIOSH to consider as it determines the direction of the AgFF Program.
Direct Action and Extramural Funding Mechanisms Tend to Show Higher Achievability and Feasibility Than Do Actions That Depend on Partner Capabilities for Implementation
- Actions that depend on partner engagement, resources, or capabilities may have lengthier timelines for establishing or building partnerships and negotiating agreements (including data use and data-sharing).
- There is uncertainty in the availability and accessibility of information that could be obtained through such partnerships.
- When looking at desirability, the results are more mixed.
Two Actions Had High Feasibility and Desirability Scores
- Develop concise definitions of populations at occupational exposure risk, and profile them by AgFF commodity specialization, demographic factors, work organization patterns, worksite tasks across various enterprise types, and knowledge or use of emerging technologies.
- Identify and evaluate the potential of existing data sources (including those currently or recently used by NIOSH) for illness and injury surveillance of agricultural workers.
Table of Contents
Introduction and Project Background
Project Approach: Identification of Recommendations and Actions
Project Approach: Development of Implementation Scenarios for Actions
Project Approach: Criteria Development and Assessment of Actions
Description of Recommendations and Actions
Results of Actions Assessment