Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health



First Committee Member

Jianghu (James) Dong

Second Committee Member

Risto Rautiainen

Third Committee Member

Ellen Duysen


Background: Agriculture producers in the United States face some of the highest rates of fatal and non-fatal injuries among all occupations. This includes a high risk of respiratory damage when working in dusty environments, chemical and health hazards when working with pesticides or other dangerous chemicals, and hearing damage when working in noisy environments. These risks can be reduced using personal protective equipment (PPE). While some workplaces are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to provide necessary PPE and monitoring according to the risks of a job, many small farms are not required by OSHA to provide a PPE program for their employees even though hazards exist. PPE use by agriculture producers has been found to be low.

Methods: Several studies have identified multi-level interventions to promote PPE usage in producers. Determining characteristics of farms and producers significantly associated with lower PPE use can help target interventions to increase the number of producers who adopt PPE. Data from the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health’s 2018-2020 seven-states survey on injuries in agriculture producers was analyzed to identify demographic and farm information significantly associated with PPE usage rates for chemical, respiratory, and hearing PPE. Multinomial logistic regression was used to identify associations between PPE use and variables of age, gender, gross farm income, type of farm, percent of work time spent on the farm/ranch, and occupation type. Multinomial logistic regression was also used to identify associations between PPE use and injuries/diseases.

Results: Older age was associated with lower PPE use for all PPE types. Males had higher PPE use than females for chemical (OR = 1.26, 95% CI [1.08, 1.47]) and respiratory PPE (OR = 1.33, 95% CI [1.18, 1.52]). Producers on grain-only farms had higher chemical PPE use (OR = 1.26, 95% CI [1.10, 1.43]) than those on livestock-only farms. Producers that spent only 0-24% of their worktime on the farm/ranch had lower PPE use than those that spent more work time on the farm/ranch.

Discussion/Conclusion: Using this information, interventions can be better adapted and targeted to groups at highest risk of health hazards due to low PPE usage. Female producers, producers on livestock-only farms, older-aged producers, and part-time producers may be beneficial groups to adapt interventions to improve PPE use.

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