268212 Building a consensus for tomato worker ergonomics: A community-expert panel study

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 2:50 PM - 3:10 PM

Nichole Manz , Department of Environmental Health, College of Public Health, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
Ken Silver, SM, DSc , Department of Environmental Health, ETSU College of Public Health, Johnson City, TN
Nathan Fethke, PhD, CPE , Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Karin Hoffman , Migrant Outreach, Rural Medical Services, Inc., Parrottsville, TN
Sharon Loury, PhD RN , College of Nursing, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
Joseph Florence, MD , Department of Family Medicine, Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
In participatory research partnerships with communities, academic researchers strive to recognize and give voice to laypeople with knowledge of health and the environment. Widely used in medical, drug and device research, expert panel studies have found limited use in industrial hygiene research. Here, the expert panel study methodology is adapted to serve as a consensus-building tool among persons of diverse educational and socioeconomic backgrounds in assessing ergonomic hazards during manual tomato harvesting and packing. In addition to nine health and safety professionals, six industry personnel, whose expertise derives from careers as managers or laborers on tomato farms, will be assembled as the “expert” panel. After a half-day training session by a certified ergonomist, the panel will use the Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA) method to rate video segments of tomato harvesting and packing tasks with respect to ergonomic hazards. Intra- and interclass statistical methods will be used to estimate the extent to which raters agree on the major body parts at risk of chronic musculoskeletal injury. If ratings assigned by industry personnel correlate with those of health professionals, this will form the basis of a community consensus for practical intervention research and action. If the two groups diverge in their ratings, then qualitative research methods will be used to ascertain the sources of variability. In either case, by providing “seats at the table” for community experts in a formal study that sets the agenda for future work, the university research team expects to strengthen its relationships with community partners.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Particpants will be able to discuss how an expert panel study design can be adapted to community-based particpatory research on occupational hazards affecting an underserved population.

Keywords: Occupational Health, Migrant Farm Workers

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Five years' experience in a community-based partnership on migrant tomato workers' health issues, on top of decades of similar technical assistance, research and advocacy projects with worker populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.