Assessing the effectiveness of the Pesticides and Farmworker Health Toolkit

A curriculum for enhancing farmworkers' understanding of pesticide safety concepts
Among agricultural workers, migrant and seasonal farmworkers have been recognized as a special risk population because these laborers encounter cultural challenges and linguistic barriers while attempting to maintain their safety and health within their working environments. The crop-specific Pesticides and Farmworker Health Toolkit (Toolkit) is a pesticide safety and health curriculum designed to communicate to farmworkers pesticide hazards commonly found in their working environments and to address Worker Protection Standard (WPS) pesticide training criteria for agricultural workers. The goal of this preliminary study was to test evaluation items for measuring knowledge increases among farmworkers and to assess the effectiveness of the Toolkit in improving farmworkers' knowledge of key WPS and risk communication concepts when the Toolkit lesson was delivered by trained trainers in the field. After receiving training on the curriculum, four participating trainers provided lessons using the Toolkit as part of their regular training responsibilities and orally administered a pre- and post-lesson evaluation instrument to 20 farmworker volunteers who were generally representative of the national farmworker population. Farmworker knowledge of pesticide safety messages significantly (P <.05) increased after participation in the lesson. Further, items with visual alternatives were found to be most useful in discriminating between more and less knowledgeable farmworkers. The pilot study suggests that the Pesticides and Farmworker Health Toolkit is an effective, research-based pesticide safety and health intervention for the at-risk farmworker population and identifies a testing format appropriate for evaluating the Toolkit and other similar interventions for farmworkers in the field.

Source: Leprevost CE, Storm JF, Asuaje CR, Arellano C, Cope WG. J. Agromed. 2014; 19(2): 96-102.

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