Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
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O'Connor T;Meredith D;McNamara J;O'Hora D;Kinsella J;
Journal Of Agromedicine
Farmer Discussion Groups Create Space for Peer Learning about Safety and Health.
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Objectives: Occupational safety and health (OSH) interventions emphasizing regulation or education have had limited success in reducing agricultural accidents and fatalities. There is a growing interest in sociocultural approaches to OSH promotion amongst farmers, such as peer learning groups (PLGs). The level of OSH engagement within farmer PLGs (e.g. dairy discussion groups (DDGs)) is unknown. This study evaluates Irish DDG engagement with OSH in 2016 to better understand how DDGs contribute to OSH promotion.Methods: A mixed-mode (online, postal, and telephone) retrospective survey of 121 DDG representatives (i.e. chairperson or long-term member) assessed voluntary OSH engagement in 2016, including the location, frequency, duration, and content of OSH discussions.Results: Representatives of 96 DDGs participated in the survey and met the survey criteria. Most DDGs discussed OSH to some extent in 2016 (96%), including sharing personal experiences of accidents and illnesses (89%) and close calls (82%). For 76 DDGs, at least one meeting in 2016 addressed specific hazard and risk management topics. Groups were diverse with respect to discussion frequency, duration, and topics discussed.Conclusion: Farmers actively engaged with OSH in most DDGs surveyed, suggesting dairy farmers value OSH discussions. The findings illustrate the role of DDGs in OSH promotion, as a space for farmer-led, peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing. Farm advisory (extension) services and OSH professionals can strengthen OSH engagement through tailored resources that reflect contemporary OSH knowledge and popular discussion approaches (e.g. experience-sharing).
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