Learning Module/Notebook

S. Dee Jepsen
State Specialist, Ag Safety and Health
Ohio State University Extension

Jepsen, S.D.1, , McGuire, Kent2, , Hicks, Tim3, , Vega, Shawnda4, , Bell, Scott5, , Stoddard, Elise6, , Shaw, Victoria7,
1 Associate Professor, Ohio State University Extension, Columbus, OH, 43210
2 , The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 43210
3 , Ohio Farm Bureau, Columbus, OH, 43210
4 , Nationwide, Columbus, OH, 43215
5 , Nationwide, Columbus, OH, 43215
6 , American Farm Bureau Federation, Washington, DC, 20024
7 , Lady Business LLC, Columbus, OH, 43215

Creating a culture of farm safety to reduce injuries and fatalities is the ultimate purpose of occupational safety outreach education. Teaching injury prevention through an eLearning platform utilizes technology as the medium to convey safety and health practices to learners, anytime and anywhere. As agriculture becomes more technology based, so too should our training programs.

Agriculture continues to be a dangerous industry; the primary audience for this curriculum is Ohio farmers and farm families. The developed curriculum is engaging and accessible to a broad audience of 21st century farmers (part- and full-time), agricultural businesses, and youth farm workers – and non-discriminant of their age or experience level. Making use of eLearning platforms, agriculturalists can access training when and where it's convenient for them.

This online program consists of three independent, 40-minute modules, on the topics of: An Introduction to Agricultural Safety, Tractor and Roadway Safety, and Equipment and Machinery Safety. Each module has its own set of learning objectives and chapter assessments. The trainings are focused on high injury-causing agents within our state and provide a self-paced environment with built-in interactive activities to keep the learners engaged.

Upon completion of the pilot tested program (where 75 farmers completed the training in 2019), the three modules were determined eligible for training credits through our state’s worker’s compensation program. With this designation, Ohio Farm Bureau members are able to participate in the eLearning environment to satisfy their education requirement for a group rating program. The successful launch of this online platform will be fully marketed in 2020 to other Ohio farmers and have the ability to provide focused training through the Farm Bureau University network.

The OSU Extension Agricultural Safety Program set a goal to provide evidence-based training programs to reduce farm injuries by 25% over the next three years. Collectively, tractors and machinery are responsible for 61% of our state’s farm fatalities. By combining forces with a grass-roots membership driven organization (Farm Bureau) and an agricultural insurance company (Nationwide), we saw potential to reach thousands of rural and farm families each year with life-saving messages for safe tractor and machinery operation.