Practical Solutions for Pesticide Safety

A Farm and Research Team Participatory Model
Development of the Practical Solutions for Pesticide Safety guide used participatory research strategies to identify and test solutions that reduce pesticide exposures for workers and their families and to disseminate these solutions. Project principles were 1) workplace chemicals belong in the workplace, and 2) pesticide handlers and farm managers are experts, with direct knowledge of production practices. The project's participatory methods were grounded self-determination theory. Practical solutions were identified and evaluated based on five criteria: practicality, adaptability, health and safety, novelty, and regulatory compliance. Research activities that had more personal contact provided better outcomes. The Expert Working Group, composed of farm managers and pesticide handlers, was key to the identification of solutions, as were farm site visits. Audience participation, hands-on testing, and orchard field trials were particularly effective in the evaluation of potential solutions. Small work groups in a Regional Advisory Committee provided the best direction and guidance for a “user-friendly” translational document that provided evidence-based practical solutions. The “speaking farmer to farmer” format of the guide was endorsed by both the Expert Working Group and the Regional Advisory Committee. Managers and pesticide handlers wanted to share their solutions in order to “help others stay safe” and they appreciated attribution in the guide. The guide is now being used in educational programs across the region. The fundamental concept that farmers and farmworkers are innovators and experts in agricultural production was affirmed by this study. The success of this process demonstrates the value of participatory industrial hygiene in agriculture.

Source: Galvin K, Krenz J, Harrington M, Palmández P, Fenske RA. J. Agromed. 2015.

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