UW News

October 5, 2006

UW awarded $6.8 million to improve workplace health and safety in agriculture

Craig Degginger
News & Information

The Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health (PNASH) Center has received a new five-year, $6.8 million award from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to continue its work to prevent occupational disease and injury among agricultural operators, workers, and their families in the Northwest.

Established in 1996, the PNASH Center is one of 10 centers in the nation directed to conduct research, education, and prevention/intervention programs in agricultural industries. NIOSH is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The theme of the Center is promoting safe and sustainable agricultural workplaces and communities.

“We hope to highlight the need for improved worker health and safety within sustainable agriculture,” said Dr. Richard Fenske, director of the Center and professor of environmental and occupational health sciences in the UW School of Public Health and Community Medicine. “In our view, the need for safe and sustainable agricultural workplaces extends beyond the boundaries of agricultural production, and into the rural communities that are the foundation of the agricultural economy.”

PNASH Center activities are aimed at preventing injuries and illnesses through promotion of health and safety in Northwest agriculture. Researchers identify hazards and then implement and evaluate practical solutions to reduce workplace injury and illness.

UW researchers from multiple disciplines will collaborate with scientists from the Oregon Health and Sciences University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over the past five years PNASH researchers have explored health concerns such as chemical exposures, hearing loss, musculoskeletal stress, skin disease, and traumatic injury. In addition to the general agricultural population, special groups served include farm children and teens, Hispanic workers, and older workers.