Note to Editors: To attend conference sessions or to arrange interviews, contact Brad Bohlander at (970) 491-1545 or Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543.
Colorado State University’s High Plains Intermountain Center for Agricultural Health and Safety, or HICAHS, is hosting the 2004 National Symposium on Agricultural Health and Safety June 20-24 at Keystone Resort in Colorado. The event’s purpose is to promote health and safety on American farms and ranches by reporting on recent research and sharing intervention, outreach and educational approaches.
"This meeting is an ideal opportunity for agriculture professionals from throughout the country to get together, raise issues, discuss problems and consider solutions," said HICAHS director Dr. Stephen Reynolds.
The symposium is presented by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH, Agricultural Centers (HICAHS is one of nine in the country); the North American Agromedicine Consortium; and the National Institute for Farm Safety. The conference marks the first time these three leading agricultural health and safety organizations have collaborated in their educational and outreach efforts.
"This unprecedented level of cooperation among safety-focused groups is appropriate given our conference theme: Creating Partnerships Across Multiple Disciplines. The NIOSH centers are creating a broad partnership to help us work on the longstanding problem of tractor-related injuries and fatalities," Reynolds said. "The centers are proposing a national initiative to reduce these incidents, the number one cause of death in agriculture. We will be seeking response to our recommendations, refining the plan and enlisting additional partners at the conference."
Approximately 250 people lose their lives in tractor-related incidents each year in the U.S. and several thousand others are seriously injured. The NIOSH centers began developing a joint plan to deal with the issue early in 2003 and will present their 37 recommendations for the first time at Keystone.
The conference will be keynoted by Dr. John Howard, director of NIOSH, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Howard is board-certified in both internal and occupational medicine and a lawyer who has written widely on occupational health law and policy. He also holds a master’s degree in public health from Harvard.
Dr. Miguel Morales of Monsanto is the symposium’s other plenary speaker. Morales, a veterinarian, works in California, where one of his roles is helping dairies train their Hispanic workforce. His main areas of interest are production medicine and labor management.
Symposium sessions will address a wide range of topics including agroterrorism, distress and depression in farm families, young Latino workers’ needs, physical demands and back injury among children working on farms, occupational diseases and monitoring pesticide exposure in farm-worker families.
For more information about the symposium, including a schedule of events, visit the Web at
www.hicahs.colostate.edu. For additional information about sponsoring organizations or the National Agricultural Tractor Safety Initiative, visit the Web at:
www.cdc.gov/niosh/agctrhom.html (NIOSH agricultural centers);
www.agromedicine.org (North American Agromedicine Consortium);
www.ag.ohio-state.edu/~agsafety/NIFS/mission.htm (National Institute for Farm Safety);
http://depts.washington.edu/pnash/tractor.html (Tractor Safety Initiative).