April 2000 Volume 6 Number 2
Ergonomics and Mechanization affecting Migrants -- John Miles
The UC Agricultural Ergonomics Research Center is an organized research group, drawing on multi-disciplinary and multi-campus academic resources to study and prevent musculoskeletal disorders in agricultural jobs through the application of ergonomics methods and approaches. The Center has offices in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department of the University of California at Davis. The Center maintains active projects in both the California Agricultural Experiment Station and UC Cooperative Extension. Center operations are consistent with University of California procedures.
Projects are conducted under the overall supervision of Principal Investigator Miles. Dr. Miles supervises engineering intervention and, with Mr. Janowitz, ergonomics measurement and analysis. Dr. Meyers serves as associate director with primary responsibility for program administration. Each investigator holds primary performance responsibility for academic activities in their cited area of expertise. They function together as the project research team. In addition, a team of specially qualified consultants has been recruited to advise on special issues. Several field staff positions, project coordinators and development engineers, are based at UC Davis under the day-to-day supervision of P.I. Miles. Cooperative Extension Advisors Smith and Weber serve as associate directors for vineyard operations, responsible directly to P.I. Miles. It is important to note that cooperating vineyard’s safety committees and management participate in and approve decisions about worksite access, selected intervention types, intervention trials and data collection. They are regarded as part of project administration. This planned organization fits the organizational structure of Cooperative Extension and the Department Biological and Agricultural Engineering which serve as the project’s administrative locus.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT TEAM
The investigators academically implement each project with research expertise suited to their project component, and each with responsibility for planning, implementation, data collection, and data analysis in their area of responsibility. The management team includes liaisons from cooperating enterprises, including workers safety committee representatives.
The University of California is recognized as one of the nation’s foremost research universities. It has the capacity to support and conduct very sophisticated research on campus and in the field. The UC Davis Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE) Department is recognized as one of the top 5 departments in the nation. The UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) is the systemwide organization for the University’s Land Grant mission and resources. The resources of the California Agricultural Experiment Station and the California Cooperative Extension system are easily among the most extensive in the world. The DANR has academic resources and research facilities throughout the state, including its county-based system of Extension offices housing some 300 Extension Advisors, who conduct cooperative applied field research with community and campus-based partners. The UC Center for Occupational and Environmental Health involves researchers and practitioners in a wide range of disciplines across the UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley, and UC Davis Campuses. It has a proven research and teaching record and a demonstrated commitment to community partnership.
The UC Agricultural Ergonomics Research Center is physically located on the UC Davis campus. The Biological and Agricultural Engineering department provides accounting and administrative support staff for Center projects. The department also provides offices for Drs. Miles and Meyers, a Research Center office, and access to engineering research resources including shops, laboratories, computers and analytic services. All four of the co-Principals are faculty of the multi-campus Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, which provides both academic and administrative support to the program. Dr. Meyers also is provided offices and administrative support at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Dr. Faucett is on the faculty of the Occupational Health Nursing Program at UCSF, where she is provided academic and administrative support. Mr. Janowitz is a member of the UC Ergonomics Program (UCSF/UCB), which affords him both academic and administrative support.
The UC Ergonomics Program (UCSF) has an established collaborative relationship with the Agricultural Ergonomics group. Dr. Rempel and his staff have a distinguished record and hold a number of current research grants and carry out a continuing program of teaching and industry consultation. This relationship dates from 1993 and is further strengthened and formalized through the participation of Mr. Janowitz as a co-Principal. Through linkage with the UCSF program, the project has a source of nationally recognized research advice and consultation concerning advanced ergonomic research methods and equipment.
NIOSH. Our cooperation with NIOSH has involved shared information on research topics and resources through previously funded NIOSH projects and the UC Agricultural Health and Safety Center. Dr. Miles has cooperated with NIOSH safety engineer/industrial hygienist Thomas G Bobick, P.E. on ergonomic injuries in orchards and other California agricultural commodities. Mr. Janowitz has had ongoing cooperative interaction with a variety of NIOSH researchers interested in ergonomic programs over several years. Dr. Tom Waters has assisted with consultative review and advice on past projects will continue to serve as program consultant.
The UC Agricultural Health & Safety Center at Davis will be directly involved through the participation of Drs. Miles and Meyers. The project will draw on the special expertise of other Center investigators as needed.
The Occupational Health Nursing program, UC San Francisco will participate through Dr. Faucett’s participation as co-PI. Dr. Faucett and her colleagues have extensive experience in the recognition and resolution of social and administrative barriers to workplace safety implementation as well as the health consequences of occupational injury.
UC Cooperative Extension is directly involved in the conduct of the project through Dr. Meyers, agricultural health specialist; Viticulture Farm Advisors Weber, Napa County, Smith, Sonoma County, and Home Advisor Garcia, Sonoma County. Farm Advisors Smith and Weber bring field Cooperative Extension resources and industry outreach to the project. Advisor Garcia will support information dissemination for farmworkers. Dr. William Steinke, UC Farm Safety Specialist, will advise at all junctures and assist with long-term information dissemination.
State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF), California’s largest compensation insurer, and the largest agricultural compensation insurer is a project participant. The California Farm Bureau Federation provides its members with group compensation coverage with SCIF. Ms. R J Banks, ergonomist, and Mr. Robert Kean, Farm Bureau Group, represent the State Compensation Insurance Fund in the project as special consultants. Participation by SCIF provides added influence with agricultural employers’ consideration of project results and recommendations.
California OSHA has special interest in this program due to its responsibility for implementation of the State’s ergonomics standard. Cal OSHA officers advise and consult on project implementation and assist with industry acceptance given Agency review and consultation on resulting technologies and practices. The UC Agricultural Ergonomics Research Center has worked with Cal OSHA in development of specialized ergonomics implementation guidebooks for agricultural workplaces, in the development and provision of agricultural job analysis training and materials, and in assessment of issues in agriculture.
April 2000 Volume 6 Number 2
April 2000 Volume 6 Number 2