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Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing Research at NIOSH: Reviews of Research Programs of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
The program listed goals for populations identified as meriting special attention:
Child labor: Protection of children living and working on farms, understanding the exposure. Reduce injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among children working on farms.
Minority populations: Reduce injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among migrant and minority farm workers.
Logging: Reduce injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among logging workers.
Fishing: Reduce injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among commercial fishermen.
The NIOSH research priority-setting process in relation to AFF populations at risk was based on perceived needs, consultation with experts, and charges given to the agency.
As defined by NIOSH, populations at risk include children, minority groups, logging workers, and fishery workers. Child labor is a complicated issue because children living in a farm environment are involved in various farming activities often viewed as chores rather than work by parents. Minorities are classified by race and ethnicity, and studies included Hispanic and Latino, Navajo, and black farmers and farm workers. Many of the studies of Hispanics and Latinos have centered on hired orchard workers. Loggers and fishermen have received less attention in the AFF Program than agriculture, consequently high-risk populations in those sectors have not been well described. Other age, gender, racial, and ethnic minority groups were not included as populations at risk in the agricultural sector. Intramural activities related to populations at risk in all sectors have focused on surveillance to fill in data gaps peculiar to AFF, such as gaps in data from the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (DOL/BLS). The extramural activities have been regionally appropriate and include a wide range of agricultural settings and populations that integrate the social context in which illnesses and injuries occur. In forestry and fishing, there was some extramural funding provided on a regional basis.
The high-priority research topics defined in the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) have been modified recently to adopt an approach based on industry sectors and to establish sector-specific research goals and objectives. This emphasis promotes research-to-practice through sector-based partnerships. “Special populations at risk” were aligned with work environment and workforce categories and share priority status to a lesser degree with emerging technologies, indoor environment, mixed exposures, and work organization. It is not apparent how the priorities based on industry sectors might be used to differentiate issues associated with, for example, child labor in the context of a small family fishing operation or a small family farm operation. Although the setting is different, some