Community Stakeholder Advisory report now available

The Southeastern Coastal Center for Agricultural Health and Safety Outreach Core recently organized the first Community Stakeholder Advisory meeting. Stakeholders were invited to attend meetings in person in Gainesville, Apopka, and Valdosta or attend online through video broadcast.

The meeting aimed to raise awareness about SCCAHS, engage participants in identifying important occupational health and safety issues, discuss ways for participants to get involved, and provide input on the center’s activities to enhance the safety and health of workers in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries in the Southeastern United States.

Learn more about the meeting and what opportunities were identified by reading the Community Stakeholder Advisory report.

Video of Recent SCCAHS Meeting Now Available

The video presentations from the Southeastern Coastal Center for Agricultural Health and Safety’s (SCCAHS) recent Community Stakeholder Advisory Meeting have been posted. To access the video presentations, go to

Those attending the Oct. 24 meeting learned about the center, helped identify important occupational health and safety issues in Florida and the Southeast, and provided direction for the center’s future activities to enhance the safety and health of workers in agriculture, forestry and fishery industries.

SCCAHS is part of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) / National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Agricultural Health and Safety Initiative. SCCAHS explores and addresses the occupational safety and health needs of people working in agriculture, fishing, and forestry in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The goal of the SCCAHS is to provide occupational safety and health education for agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries workers through evidence-based, tested safety and health programs. Programs will be geared towards specific target audiences and will include translating programs to other languages when appropriate.

The University of Florida is the lead institution of SCCAHS, partnering with the University of South Florida (USF), Florida State University (FSU), Florida A&M University (FAMU), Emory University, and the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI). These universities are working together on a range of interdisciplinary research and educational projects designed to promote occupational health and safety among employers, families, and workers at the 240,000 farms  estimated by the US Department of Agriculture to be operating in the region, as well as forestry and fishery industries.


Pilot Research Projects Selected for Funding to Improve Agricultural Worker Safety and Health

The Southeastern Coastal Center for Agricultural Health and Safety is awarding more than $56,000 to three pilot research projects to improve the safety and health of agricultural workers.

Scientists will use mobile app monitoring to prevent heat-related symptoms among Hispanic farmworkers; research mental, physical and occupational health issues among Haitian and Mexican migrant farmworkers; and identify work and movements to alleviate chronic lower back pain in seafood workers.

SCCAHS explores and addresses the occupational safety and health needs of workers in agriculture, fishing and forestry in Florida and the Southeast’s coastal states. The University of Florida is the lead institution for the center, partnering with the University of South Florida, Florida State University, Florida A&M University, Emory University and the University of the Virgin Islands.

John Luque, assistant professor of public health sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina, will receive $20,000 to test a mobile phone app to monitor whether Hispanic farmworkers report taking more breaks in the shade, wearing hats, avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages and increasing water intake after receiving heat-related illness education.

Gulcan Onel, assistant professor of food and resource economics at the University of Florida, will receive $16,000 to investigate the extent to which migrant farmworkers with different ethnic backgrounds and social networks face higher risks of mental, physical and occupational health issues.

Kim Dunleavy, an associate clinical professor in UF’s department of physical therapy, will receive $20,441 to conduct research on chronic low back pain in seafood workers. She will research clam workers in Cedar Key, Florida, to identify work-related movements and positions that aggravate or contribute to low back pain.

In-Service Training opportunity on Agricultural Guest Workers and Related Wage and Hour Rules

Fritz Roka from the UF/IFAS Southwest Research and Education Center in Immokalee, Florida will be hosting an in-service training opportunity (IST #31451) on Agricultural Guest Workers and Related Wage and Hour Rules. This IST will take place via distance on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

This IST has applicability across a broad range of extension programs. Foreign agricultural guest workers through the H-2A program are becoming increasingly important for labor-intensive specialty crop producers (i.e citrus, strawberries, blueberries, and all vegetable crops). Proposed changes in the H-2A visa program (i.e. H-2C program) could expand foreign guest workers to the landscape, packing house, and dairy industries.  The H-2A program, historically, has garnered negative attention from farm labor advocates and community development leaders. Finally, debate over guest worker programs has been, and probably will continue to be, at the center of comprehensive immigration reform.

The topic of labor and, specifically, of guest workers fits within Initiative #1 of the extension roadmap – Increase sustainability, profitability, and competiveness of agricultural and horticultural enterprises. To enroll and participate in this IST, please register at Look for IST #31451. A week to 10 days prior to the IST, we will send out a ZOOM address and instructions on how to connect to the training.

SCCAHS Needs Assessment Report is Available

The Southeastern Coastal Center for Agricultural Health and Safety has posted its final report of a needs assessment from people involved in all aspects of agriculture, fisheries, and forestry industries in the Southeast.

Download the needs assessment report.

The needs assessment’s results will help guide the center’s research, outreach, and communication strategies on important issues within agriculture, fisheries, and forestry.

Data for the needs assessment were collected between May 30 to July 24, 2017. More than 110 individuals completed the survey, and represented Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Puerto Rico. Many of the participants were from Extension (47%), followed by non-profit/worker organizations (21%), academia (12%), and industry (12%). Stakeholders from public agencies and regulatory agencies made up 4% of participants, respectively.

Heat stress and pesticide issues were both at the top of stakeholders’ concerns for farmworkers, listed as being “extremely critical” and most frequently cited as urgent issues. Access to healthcare and injuries from equipment were also highly-ranked as extremely critical issues. Health and safety education was the most frequently listed strategy employed by stakeholders to address agricultural worker health and safety.

In fisheries, stakeholders responded that access to healthcare was an extremely critical issue affecting seafood workers. Extremely critical issues, as ranked by forestry sector stakeholders, included injuries from equipment and transportation accidents in work vehicles.

New NIOSH Extramural Research and Training Programs Website Debuts

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has released a new website focusing on extramural research and training programs.
Portfolios of the research and training programs are available at the website, as well as links to NIH reporting tools and CDC-NIOSH funded reports. Listings of research and training grants, performance data and reports, funding opportunities, and news archives are also provided on the new website. The funding opportunity link, for example, provides a listing of research grants, cooperative agreements, workforce development, and conference grants opportunities.
To learn more about the new NIOSH website, visit

Webinar: Fall and electrical safety in agriculture

Falls and electricity are among the most common hazards encountered in agriculture. Learn how to educate others about these hazards during an AgriSafe Network Webinar, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (CT), Wednesday, Sept. 13. The webinar is free but attendees must register at

Marsha Salzwedel, M.S., Youth Agricultural Safety Specialist with the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, will present a full curriculum that is ideal for school agricultural classes, but also adaptable for community events and other educational scenarios.

Salzwedel will explore the different types of falls experienced on farms and how to protect against them, including fall protection systems. She’ll discuss issues associated with electrical hazards and strategies to prevent injuries and fatalities when working around electricity. Salzwedel also will address “Stand T.A.L.L.”, a concept that empowers youth to “Talk, Ask, Learn, Live”, so that they adequately understand work tasks. The session will conclude with a brief overview of other free instructional materials that can be used in combination with the fall and electrical materials to create a more comprehensive agricultural safety program.

Preparing for Hurricane Irma and helpful resources

As the Southeastern United States and especially Florida prepare for the impact of Hurricane Irma, there are many resources that can help make the process a little less stressful for residents. Many of our friends and partners provided an array of resources and contact information, which you will find below:

Storm Surge Risk Communication
from Jill Gambill with UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant: 

Several months ago, I collaborated with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) to conduct seven focus groups on storm surge risk communication during Hurricane Matthew in Beaufort, SC; Savannah, GA; and Brunswick, GA. Attached are some initial findings, which outline reasons that people may not evacuate, challenges in forecast comprehension, and recommended strategies for messaging and mapping hurricane risks. Also attached is a visualization of how storm surge, rainfall and drainage issues can create complex flood impacts. If you have any questions or would like further information, please visit the Communicating Hazard Information in the Modern Environment (CHIME) website.

Emergency Animal Sheltering and Evacuation Information
From LeiAnna Tucker with FDACS: 

We will continue to post new information on throughout Hurricane Irma response.  Please continue to monitor this website and share with the public.

Mental Health Resources
From Heidi Radunovich, FYCS and EDEN website:

Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF)
HENTF is a national service organization and federal agency created to protect cultural heritage from damaging effects of natural disasters and other emergencies. Their focus is on the protection and salvaging of documents, family treasures, family valuables and heirlooms. The attached document includes preparation tips from HENTF including protecting family valuables and archives.

Florida Sea Grant Preparation Page
Information including preparing boat, flood insurance, tips for caregivers, food safety, water supply, etc.

From Bay County

Scott Jackson in Bay County shared some social media posts and links that may be helpful to other counties.

Boat Preparation –

Animal-Disease Control

Example of Emergency Notification Posts encouraging folks to sign-up for apps in their county/city/community that will provide up-to-date information through their local EOC 

Other Helpful Links

Generator Safety –

Chainsaw Safety –

Family Emergency Plan –

Safe Handling of Food & Water –

Energy Education Council:
Information on downed power line and flooding safety after a storm – website is an excellent resource: 

Downed Power Line safety:
After a storm, limbs & debris may hide an electrical hazard. Treat all downed power lines as if they are energized.

Just because power lines are damaged does not mean they are dead. Stay far away, and keep others away from them.

Safe Electricity advises everyone to be mindful of the electrical hazards that storms and flooding can leave behind.

Flooding safety:
Never turn off power at the breaker box if you have to stand in water to do so.  Get more info on flooding safety –

Never step into a flooded basement.  Water may be in contact with electrical outlets or appliances.  More info –

AgriSafe Network:
The AgriSafe™ Network, a non-profit international membership organization, represents health and safety professionals who strive to reduce health disparities found among the agricultural community.

Document on farm flood threats:

Webinar on 9/14 re: farm flood threats:

Mental Health Resources for Children after a hurricane:
Parent handout related to children after disasters:

Two different manuals on working with children after traumatic events:

Parent guide for helping children after a hurricane:

Children’s book about being afraid:

Video of a book from LSU to help prepare children for hurricanes:

Good resources from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network to help parents and families related to coping with trauma:

Texas Well Owner Network Website:

Press Release on flooded water wells & testing wells after floods:

Media contact: Angie Lindsey,

Safe and Healthy Recovery After Farm Floods

Disaster recovery can be as dangerous as the disaster itself, especially if no disaster preparedness plan was implemented. This is especially true on farms and ranches where inherent farm hazards such as machinery and equipment, livestock, and agriculture chemicals are displaced and co-mingle, putting all emergency response personnel, farm workers and family members in danger. Floods can heighten the risk of health threats such as mold, tetanus bacteria, contaminated well water, heat illness and high stress. This presentation will highlight basic precautions to prevent possible diseases and injuries during and after flooding. Continue readingSafe and Healthy Recovery After Farm Floods”

Engaging Guestworkers in Occupational Safety Research in Forestry

The southern US contains some of the most intensively managed forests in the world that provide the bulk of the nation’s softwood lumber and pulp. There is a paucity of research on the burden of injury, illness, and fatalities among reforestation workers in this region. Latino guestworkers make up more than 85% of the reforestation workforce in the region. Efforts to delineate health and safety risk factors associated with tree planters require employer/contractor buy-in and support from crew leaders and industry associations. A participatory approach to research is critical to the success of this study and recruitment efforts must be culturally sensitive to the needs of this work group. Continue readingEngaging Guestworkers in Occupational Safety Research in Forestry”