ANR Employees
University of California
ANR Employees

2014 New Call for Positions

2014 URS Call for Positions

This proposal has been formally submitted for the 2014 cycle.

Position Details

065 Agricultural Safety and Health Specialist

Proposed Location/Housing

Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis

Proposed Area of Coverage

California - statewide


Associated Documents



Request to view PD.
Posted Apr 30, 2014 7:53 AM by Sandra Freeland
Thank you, after reviewing the position description I am pleased to support this effort as Manager of the Western Center for Occupational Health & Safety at UC Davis, one of 10 NIOSH funded Ag Center across the United States. A dedicated position in the UC system, a land-grant university, will serve as a much needed resource for not only the 10 Campus Extension Specialists and the far reaches of rural California, but without doubt also as a resource both nationally and internationally - as the largest ag-producing state, California is in the farming safety and health forefront.
Posted Jun 13, 2014 5:22 PM by Sandra Freeland
We absolutely need this Ag Safety and Health Specialist within the UC system again. Since the position at UC Davis was lost, we have lost a critical link to farmers and farm labor workers for translation of agriculture safety and health research to the end user. This person also provided access to farms for our students and for research projects.
Posted May 1, 2014 10:39 AM by David Rempel, MD, MPH
In my 30 years of experience in a wide variety of industries, I have never seen a system of information, training, and technology transfer as effective as the Statewide network of UC Cooperative Extension Advisors. Restoring the Ag Safety and Health Specialist position will fill an important gap, considering the widespread safety and health risks associated with agricultural work.
Posted May 1, 2014 11:49 AM by Ira Janowitz
I fully agree with Dr. Rempel and Mr. Janowitz above that UCD needs an Ag Health and Safety Specialist again. This position represents a unique and important liaison with the ag communities of growers, managers, and labor, and provides for dissemination of research as well as very vital input about their needs and challenges. The specialist keeps research realistic and applicable to the real world of agriculture, and is essential for understanding the feasibility and long term viability of potential interventions. There is no other position like this in the system and frankly, other industries/academics could use the example!
Posted May 3, 2014 3:53 PM by Julia Faucett RN, PhD
California accounts for fully 41% of all U.S. working hours for labor-intensive agricultural production. No other state comes close. A safety and health specialist is vitally needed because farmers, labor contractors, and workers need expert, specialized knowledge about workplace risks and successful interventions. The population to be served is both extremely large and unique: nearly all hired farm workers are foreign-born, mostly non-English speaking and predominately low literacy. Annual average employment of agricultural hired and contract labor is about 375,000 FTE, but the total number of individual workers is likely twice as great because many jobs are short-term. California farm jobs have a higher occupational injury and illness rate than do jobs in manufacturing. More than 20,000 farm laborers file workers compensation claims every year as a result of injuries and illnesses experienced while working on our state's farms, and employers of hired farm workers are faced with an annual cost of workers compensation insurance premiums that exceeds $350 million. A successful program of outreach, education and intervention has the potential to save limbs and lives as well as reduce employer costs.
Posted May 8, 2014 11:56 AM by Don Villarejo, Ph.D. (Founder, California Institute for Rural Studies; retired)
The lack of an ag extension specialist in health and safety has been a huge gap. In the past we had real partners to help promote evidence-based best practices for injury and illness prevention on farms and in fields. This link has been sorely missed. I strongly support the proposed position and see many opportunities for collaboration with our Center for Occupational and Environmental Health on 3 U.C. campuses.
Robin Baker
Director of Research to Practice
COEH, UC Berkeley School of Public Health
Posted May 8, 2014 2:34 PM by Robin Baker
The position of an Agriculture Safety and Health Specialist is critical to the translation of research, into agricultural health and safety risks and solutions, into practice. Agriculture is a critical industry sector for California; this position is important for the technology transfer process between the University and farmers. From an occupational health nursing perspective, I add my support for this position.
Posted May 8, 2014 3:05 PM by Barbara Burgel, RN, NP, PhD
As a member of the External Advisory Panel of the Western Agricultural Health & Safety Center I am aware of the contributions the Center’s research to improve farm worker health and safety and the importance of extension specialists in translating research results into better and safer working conditions. The specialists also play a key role in bringing the real world into the laboratory so that research projects are relevant to what is needed in the western states. Farm work is one of the more dangerous occupations and it is in everyone’s interest to find ways to reduce risks to the safety and health of farm workers.
Posted May 8, 2014 5:31 PM by Charles E Hess
Agriculture is a vital leader of the economic output of California. Ensuring health and safety for agricultural workers is a paramount priority. OSHA's laws and methods lag far behind the needs of this dynamic industry. Funding this position is a win-win-win for agricultural employers, employees, and the state.
Posted May 9, 2014 7:58 AM by James Craner, MD, MPH, FACOEM, FACP, Ass't Clinical Professor, UCSF Div. of Occup. & Env. Medicine
To continue playing the leadership role in research/practice/policy making for promoting agricultural workers' safety and health, it is important to have Agriculture Safety and Health Specialist within the UCD Ag Center. Please support.

Director of Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing Graduate Program, UCSF
Posted May 13, 2014 11:15 AM by OiSaeng Hong
The position requires a BS in engineering with a PhD in a related field. Please consider deemphasizing this level of academic achievement. The candidate will be interacting with farm management, farm labor contractors and laborers on a regular basis. The position should require 1) dynamic applicable field experience and proven (credible) positive interactions as well as 2) the ability to relate culturally including bilingual language skills. Please also consider candidate knowledge of Cal OSHA ag safety regulations. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
Posted May 14, 2014 10:13 PM by Greg Menna
Agriculture is among the most hazardous major industries in the country. UC Davis has an enormous opportunity to make a major impact in reducing the health and safety risks of farmers, farm family members and farm workers. This opportunity is based on the strong programs in agriculture and occupational health and safety at UCD and the history of these groups working together. I strongly support the creation of the position in Extension, and look forward to the individual catalyzing this important function, namely improving the health and safety of those who work in agriculture.
Posted May 15, 2014 4:39 PM by Marc Schenker
In this 100th anniversary year of the UC Cooperative Extension service, I find it exceptionally fitting that efforts are being made to fill a position as critical as this. From both the regulatory enforcement perspective as well as the consultative perspective, filling this position will not only be of great service to agricultural employers and employees in the State of California, but also enhance the position of the University in being a world leader. I also believe that timing is a factor, as emerging issues in agricultural safety and health issues need to be evaluated and addressed by such a respected authority.
Posted May 19, 2014 10:43 AM by William Krycia, Senior Safety Engineer, Cal/OSHA
I echo the call for reinstatement of this position to renew focus on effective and practical approaches to reducing agricultural work safety hazards and the toll they are taking on California's agricultural workers.
Posted May 20, 2014 9:54 PM by Ann Katten- Pesticide and Work Safety Project- California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation
Several years ago, Jim Meyers, who filled the position at the time, and other specialists from the Agricultural Safety and Health Cooperative Extension (CE), were instrumental in assisting me with testing and modifying a worker assisted platform in my orchards. Without their help, I don’t think any of my orchard workers would have considered the job safe. With labor continuing to be a limited resource, new methods to increase each worker’s productivity will continue to be implemented as well as the need for a safe and healthy work environment. I wholeheartedly support filling this position.
Posted May 27, 2014 2:41 PM by Lars Crail
I spent over 6 years as a Sr. Safety and Health Consultant for Zenith Insurance who at one time focused their business as a the premier Ag Workers' Comp carrier in California. In my consulting career with farmers across the state, I came across various employers needing the assistance for basic Injury and Illness Prevention Program implementation advise that is practical to their crops. In some situations evidence based advise existed in research but did not make it to practice leaving some employers out on available technology or practice that is likely to save lives and prevent injuries. Examples of such research is the Simple Solutions for Ergonomics in Agriculture as well as the EPA's heat illness prevention guide that existed before the heat illness regulation was passed in California. Having an Ag specialist bridging the gap between research and farmers will most likely enhance agriculture. Another aspect that needs to be considered is the neutrality of the Ag specialist when it comes to advise related to health and safety of workers. In most cases, farmers may be reluctant to share their lack of preventative programs with insurance carriers due to the perception that it may harm them financially. Having the neutral Ag specialist providing advise through the network of advisors across the state is more likely to enhance the overall health and safety of California farm workers.
Posted May 30, 2014 5:16 PM by Amjad Ramahi
I support the proposed position to recruit an agricultural safety specialist in the Department of Ag and Bio Engineering. I worked closely with the ag safety team on research related platforms for orchard harvest and learned a great deal from them about incorporating safety features into mechanized harvesting equipment. This position will ensure that the movement to develop more mechanized equipment for labor intensive crops will have the most cutting edge features researched and extended to meet the needs of California, and indeed the U.S. and the world. Thank you very much.
Posted May 31, 2014 9:30 AM by Rachel Elkins
It certainly make sense that the land-grant university in the largest ag-producing state, and the land-grant that supports the industry that is the largest employer of farm workers in the U.S. should have some presence providing agricultural extension support for agricultural employers. One person won't be enough, but it's a start.
Posted Jun 6, 2014 5:13 PM by Bryan Little/California Farm Bureau Federation
Here in the Salinas Valley where we produce labor-intensive crops, having a dedicated position at UCCE to manage/interpret/predict Agricultural Health and Safety would be an asset in ensuring that the best research and management practices are implemented when proof-of-concept matches financial viability. There has been a gap in UCCE agricultural mechanization research for too long; filling this position would be a great start for our local food producers who grow vegetable and berry crops that are still largely harvested by hand. With so many different crops produced statewide, this position will surely not be enough to manage all the technical benefits that could be offered to producers and their employees.
Posted Jun 9, 2014 2:45 PM by Norm Groot / Monterey County Farm Bureau
The California Farm Labor Contractor Association wholeheartedly supports the proposal to re-establish the position of Agricultural Health & Safety Specialist within the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. Farm Labor Contractors do their best to comply with the wide range of regulatory requirements impacting workplace health and safety. FLCs are interested in any best practices and latest innovations that address work hazards and help prevent injury and illness to workers. A dedicated position in the UC system to serve as a resource to FLCs, other agricultural employers, and support personnel would be invaluable in protecting the work force upon which California's labor-intensive ag industry relies.
Posted Jun 10, 2014 9:38 AM by Guadalupe Sandoval
I fully support the proposed position of Ag Health and Safety Specialist at the Dept of Ag & Bio Engineering. Several years ago I had the opportunity to work with Jim Meyers and this department on 2 important projects in vineyards at Robert Mondavi. We worked with the smaller grape bin to pick the grapes in and with the machine that was developed to pick up the full bins in the vine rows. The exchange of information was very helpful to our company at that time and to this day, many of us in the safety business continue to promote the smaller picking bin. Dr. Meyers also accompanied me to Chile to exchange valuable information with the University of Chile and the Associacion de Seguridad Ocupacional concerning safety in wine grape vineyards. Agriculture needs help with their tools and this position is vital in connecting academics with what is practiced in the field.
Posted Jun 13, 2014 2:07 PM by Robin Nicola - Nicola Health and Safety
The jobs and product provided by California Agriculture Employers have a tremendous impact on local, state and national economy and are essential in the stability of the food supply security in the world. It seems to be a given tenant that the University system to provide expertise to protect and advance those jobs and ensure the delivery of that product to market. This position could serve as a true interface between academia, legislative and industry. It seems even more vital that this role is focused on ensuring the economy created by this work remains in California in the future.
Posted Jun 13, 2014 4:27 PM by Nathan Dorn
As a BAE Faculty member I spent much of my career working directly with our Health and Safety Specialist. Together we found that both Agricultural workers and Agricultural owners and managers very much wanted to work safely. Their question was frequently "How can we do this job more safely?" Unlike many industrial situations, agricultural enterprises seldom have an engineering department to turn to. The Engineering Health and Safety Specialist can sometimes provide an answer to this important question. Smaller grape tubs, smaller citrus bags and special tools for nursery tasks are examples of answers to that "how to" question. Agriculture is filled with specialized tasks which beg for improved methods for the benefit of the worker and the enterprise. Filling this position is one small but important step toward more civilized agricultural work.

Posted Jun 15, 2014 10:18 AM by John Miles
As an organic orchardist, our employees have benefited from the ergonomic research done at UC Davis. It seems this type of practical research and development would be a primary function of a land grant university. I wholly support the re-establishment of this Ag safety and health position. It's critically important that California remain on the forefront of developing better and safer ways to bring in our labor intensive crops.
Posted Jun 16, 2014 10:06 AM by Vernon E. Peterson / President The Peterson Family / Treasurer CCOF
I whole-heartedly endorse this position as Ag Safety Specialist. It was through this position that I was able to get valuable support for the documentary series MODERN MARVELS on the History Channel. I received a great deal of assistance and on-camera demonstration that helped viewers understand the important history of harvesting techniques from days gone by. The support offered by John Miles and Victor Duraj were invaluable to the completion of Harvesting 1 and Harvesting 2 for History Channel.
Posted Jun 18, 2014 10:50 AM by Jim Hense
I am a recent graduate of the CSU Sacramento Health Science: Occupational Health and Safety Program. I support the position of an Agriculture Safety and Health Specialist, because it would greatly benefit one of California’s leading industries. This position would help provide advances in injury and illness prevention for an industry that employs such a large portion of the Californian work force. I also see the potential for this position becoming a valuable resource that could be used for educational purpose for current/future safety professionals in the Agricultural Industry. Funding this position will bring extensive benefits for all parties involved.
Posted Jun 18, 2014 1:29 PM by Colton Bryan - Vice President CSUS ASSE
The key to health is prevention. Treatment is secondary.

The traditional model of agricultural health and safety, especially in ergonomics, is too often centered around the reactive treatment of progressive health conditions. Through focused innovation in prevention methods these health conditions and subsequent treatment can be avoided altogether - alleviating the health strains of an underserved population, and the financial burden on the rural health systems.

It is for this reason that I wholeheartedly support this position as a means to redirect the focus of agricultural health and safety from a path of treatment to a path of prevention.
Posted Jun 20, 2014 10:58 AM by Jason Barry - UC Center of Excellence for Healthcare Injury Prevention
Some years ago I participated in vineyard ergonomics projects with a team of researchers (all now retired) including CE Specialist James Meyers and BAE faculty member John Miles as well as an ergonomist consultant and public health researchers. Today, vineyard field workers are directly benefiting from that research by using smaller picking tubs which reduces musculoskeletal pain and disorders. The research conducted and coordinated by a CE Specialist in Ag Safety and Health will improve the health and safety of field laborers which meets the needs of the industries they work in and the consumers who benefit from their labor.
Posted Jun 22, 2014 9:35 PM by Rhonda Smith
I am pleased to see this CE position created for a specialist in agricultural health and safety. The need for such a position is clearly needed. I completely concur with the research focus for this position to develop new safety technologies, to evaluate the effectiveness of existing technologies and approaches, and to provide safety and health guidance in the development and operation of agricultural and processing equipment and systems. The duties for this position to be worker-centered and cover the entire agricultural system where workers may be exposed to safety and health hazards from pre-planting, through harvesting and processing, to shipping and handling are ideal. This position has my full support.
Posted Jun 23, 2014 10:36 AM by Kent Pinkerton
I would like to add my support for the re-establishment of an Extension Specialist focusing on Agricultural Safety and Health and based on the Davis Campus. For about 20 years I directed the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, a Berkeley-Davis-UCSF program which linked very successfully with faculty and the extension specialists addressing issues in the agricultural workplace from the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. The diminished activity in this area has been a disadvantage to COEH and to various Davis programs as it certainly has been to California agriculture. The extension role in linking the problems confronted by workers and industry in agriculture is valuable both to agriculture directly and as a model of the University's contributions to the State. I urge that it be restored.
Posted Jun 23, 2014 10:53 AM by Robert C. Spear, PhD
I had the pleasure to previously work with James Meyers on related work. It is crucial that the University system have a position for agricultural health and safety and it is appropriate that this position as proposed be housed in the BAE department at UC Davis and I hope that this application is seriously considered. I would look forward to working with such an individual.
Posted Jun 23, 2014 11:31 AM by Mary Lu Arpaia
I fully support the call for filling the vacant Agricultural Safety and Health Specialist position in the Cooperative Extension system. As the manager of an agricultural safety company and a Cal Poly Ag Engineering graduate, I understand the importance of the engineering approach to reducing and eliminating injuries. The agricultural workforce in California continues to shrink so the importance of keeping that force healthy and safe is more important than ever. The past joint efforts of the Extension service and the agricultural community have provided numerous solutions to hazards that exist in our industry. Reviving this position is a vital link to continuing the development of those solutions.
Posted Jun 23, 2014 3:43 PM by Tom Boster - Manager, Cal Ag Safety, LLC.
I support the filling of the vacant Agricultural Safety and Health Specialist position in the Cooperative Extension. Over 20,000 disabling injuries occur on CA farms each year. As Director of the California AgrAbility Program, which assists injured and disabled farmers and workers, I have seen the tremendous toll safety breaches on farms can take on families. It is imperative to develop and implement engineering and ergonomic solutions as well as education to reduce and eliminate injuries. As the farmer workforce ages (now averaging 58 years old), we expect to see more age related incidents as well as diseases and conditions that are exacerbated by the hard work that farming is. By filling this position CA can begin to address these issues and be proactive in the development of cogent solutions.
Posted Jun 24, 2014 1:00 PM by M.C. Stiles
The California agricultural industry is constantly evolving in response to increasing demand and limiting resources, including farm labor. The limiting labor force has led in part to an increased demand for efficiency that in many cases includes mechanization, and also includes optimizing labor inputs while protecting the health and safety of the existing agricultural work force and attracting new workers. An Agricultural Safety and Health Specialist would be well-positioned to collaborate with the agricultural industry, UC Advisors, the Department of Pesticide Regulation, and Agricultural Commissioners to develop statewide programs to address these issues. I would look forward to working with a Specialist to identify and develop new technology, evaluate the health and safety of current technology, and optimize working conditions in the agricultural sector to promote efficiency while protecting the agricultural work force.
Posted Jun 25, 2014 8:22 AM by Monica Cooper, UC Farm Advisor-Viticulture, Napa County
Role of UC in the fields of agricultural research is preeminent. And, .... "Safety is part of Science". Integration of safety into agricultural operations, businesses and the food-supply chain impact hundreds of thousands of workers and thousands of businesses / farmers / food processors and handlers. Having an agricultural research engineer focused on safety is key to the stated mission and policy of the UC to have "Integrated Safety and Environmental Management" (ISEM) best practices in all work and research conducted by the University of California. Please support this proposal for such an important and needed position in the UC system, and in California.
Posted Jun 25, 2014 5:00 PM by Jim Gilson, Senior Safety Engineer, UCOP / UC Berkeley
This position will help bridge the gap between Ag Engineering expertise and large animal handling/diagnostic necropsy. As an integral part of California’s agricultural food animal industry, the California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory deals with many worker safety and ergonomic issues associated with handling large animals and carcasses. There are almost no resources to turn to for assistance or practical advice for improving worker safety and ergonomics in this setting. Additionally, the worker injury rate at UC Davis is far higher than other UCs due to the number of worker related injuries involving handling large animals who can be unpredictable when sick or stressed. It would be very helpful to have a nearby resource that could assist in helping address these unique animal and animal carcass handling issues.
Posted Jun 26, 2014 8:39 AM by Elizabeth Reay, M.S., RBP, CAHFS Safety Manager
I fully support the call for filling the vacant Agricultural Safety and Health Specialist position in the Cooperative Extension system. I worked many years with the AERC team and am now working in industry and still hear and see the great work that was accomplished by the team. There is a gap without this position which is the liaison between UC Davis and industry.
Posted Jun 27, 2014 11:25 AM by Diana Tejeda- Guzman
Safety on the farm is critical. It's the first link in the food chain that sets the tone for the rest of process to gets the food on our tables. The objective development of reviews, processes and eventual requlations need to be studied and evlauated by objective personnel that will be abided and respected by all in the chain..
Posted Jun 27, 2014 4:43 PM by Al Guilin
Please view this as my unqualified support for the continuance of this position. The Center has excelled in investigations and support of practical interventions in agricultural safety and health. As Co-Chair of the current NORA AgFF Sector Council and member of the Board of the Agricultural Safety & Health Council of America I feel this work is vital to the safety of these workers and to the viability of the industry as a whole.
Posted Jun 30, 2014 8:11 AM by Dan M. Hair, CSP, MSS
We’ve all heard the dollar figures. California Agriculture is a World Ag Economy. At the same time, California is faced with several pressures not always faced by our competition: Labor, Regulatory Compliance, and Water. I have no intention of entering the argument of which are the most important, but this Ag Safety Health Specialist position has the opportunity to make a positive impact on the first two priorities listed. The BAE Dept at UC Davis has long served the industry through several efforts, and the timing is right for this type of position. Like many positions today, your description is looking for a “Swiss Army Knife”-type-of person who can do it all: Safety. Health. Pre-harvest. Post Harvest. Processing. Engineering. Ergonomics. Extension. Etc. I would caution anybody involved in this search to not just look at a person with a deep and narrow theoretical background, but one with more breadth, application, field experience, and solid communication skills.
Posted Jul 1, 2014 12:47 PM by Andy Holtz, Associate Professor, Cal Poly SLO, BioResource & Ag Eng Dept.
As a long time grape grower in the Napa and Sonoma counties Walsh Vineyards Management (WVM) has benefited from working with the former UCCE Safety Specialist. Most importantly our employees/workers have benefited from our past efforts with the previous Safety Specialist. We strongly agree with everyone’s comments above suggesting there has been a critical gap created by the current vacancy of this position.
The Safety Specialist position is described as needed to develop “partnerships” with growers and ag businesses to identify and address the many worker safety issues that exist in our industry.
Walsh Vineyards is a perfect example of how that used to work.
WVM cooperated with the UCCE specialist and staff from approximately 1996-2000+ in taking a look at worker safety related to:
• the size of worker (harvest) picking pans,
• collection of harvest (worker) pans from the field,
• pruner ergonomics comfort and safety and
• trellis systems related to canopy field work.
From those efforts with the former UCCE specialist, our employees have directly benefited. They enjoy a safer and more sustainable working environment from: managements raised awareness, smaller (harvest) pans, more effective pruning shears, and better defined trellis systems.
The current “gap” previously referred to in previous posted comments is indisputably real, please strongly consider and re-create the Safety Specialist position.
Keep us on their list as an eager and still waiting Ag industry cooperator.
Posted Jul 4, 2014 9:41 AM by Tim Rodgers, (grower) owner/president @ Walsh Vineyards Mng
Replacement of the UC Farm Safety Specialist position has the potential to be a very significant contribution to both farmers and farmworkers throughout the State and it should be given priority consideration. The position should be particularly focused on the problem of injury in agricultural workplaces. Both the incidence and the real costs (both personal and financial) of injuries in agricultural workplaces by far exceeds those of illnesses, including those resulting from pesticide exposures. While ANR has the very successful and well-funded IPM education program, there is no comparable investment in the problem of workplace injuries.
Secondly, thought should be given to the real work to be the focus of the position. The job of the Extension Specialist is to serve as a link between research and those who use research results. This calls for specific focus on applied problem solving in the field. In this case, the problems to be given priority must be development and transfer of new and improved injury hazard controls. There is no need for just another “outreach” voice simply extending information, especially if that information consists mostly of urging workers to avoid exposure to known hazards. The range of injury hazards in agricultural workplaces is large and widely varied. There is a known paucity of engineering or other effective hazard controls for most. This is where the need is and this is where this Specialist position should be targeted. While the WCAHS is largely focused on epidemiological study and theoretical work, the real basis of research support for this position is with the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health which brings strong public health and workplace research expertise, in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and in those ANR departments performing commodity research in the field.
The need is real, as evidenced by the public comments posted here. Additionally I believe the Division of ANR has a real obligation to the State’s farmworker population that is underserved by current programs. I hope the position will be given priority by ANR and that a knowledgeable advisory group will help in drawing up the final position description.
Posted Jul 6, 2014 12:06 PM by Jim Meyers, UC Farm Safety Specialist Emeritus
I fully support the call for filling the vacant Agricultural Farm Safety and Health Specialist position in the Cooperative Extension system. I worked many years with the AERC team of John Miles, Jim Meyers, Victor Duraj, Diana Tejeda, Ira Janowitz, and Julia Faucett on several projects addressing the egronomic needs of the nursery and strawberry industries. This team used scientific methods to evaluate and address important needs of industry and most importantly to an under-served clientele whose jobs entailed long hours of manual labor with high risk of repetitive motion injuries. With the retirements of John Miles and Jim Meyers, a noticeable gap exists. Without an agricultural farm safety specialist the liaison between the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (which brings strong public health and workplace research expertise in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and in those ANR departments performing commodity research in the field) and industry has been severely limited.
Posted Jul 8, 2014 12:00 PM by John Kabashima
As a perennial horticulture extension specialist who has done field research for three decades I can say that this is a position that should be a very high priority. Though Specialists are trained in field horticulture we do not come fully trained in the aspects of field safety we need to know for our field programs. Also, as a researcher who has worked with changing technology in field production, especially in pruning and harvesting, I have seen examples in which ignorance and lack of knowledge have led to serious consequences. I strongly support this filling this position.

Posted Jul 10, 2014 5:33 PM by Louise Ferguson
California Grower Foundation is also in full support of this position and in continuing the good work that was started by Jim Meyers and others. Thank you for recognizing the wide range of needs and making efforts to fill the gap.
Posted Jul 14, 2014 4:53 PM by Rebecca Barlow
As the former General Manager of the Farm Employers Labor Service (FELS), an affiliated organization of the California Farm Bureau Federation I applaud the action to reestablish the vacant Agriculture Safety and Health Specialist position. Agriculture, a major California industry, employing hundreds of thousands of people each year deserves the University’s attention to disseminate much needed safety tools to reduce accidents and health issues on California farms and ranches. In the past the Agriculture Safety and Health Specialist was instrumental in creating practical safety instructional aids that met the agricultural employers needs and in creating AgSafe, a state-wide non-profit organization to assist in the disseminating UC research. As agriculture changes in response to environmental and market conditions so does the need to find new methods to adapt UC research to fill the gap between the research and the agricultural work force. The Agriculture Safety and Health Specialist position, based on past history, is an ideal mechanism to serve that function.
Posted Jul 15, 2014 7:58 AM by L. George Daniels
We wholeheartedly echo the chorus of many who have clearly articulated in comments above the need to restore the Ag Safety and Health Extension Specialist in the UC system again, so UC can build on the many successes of past activities. Given the population to be served, hiring someone with bilingual capacity should be an important factor. As new Ag Extension positions become available, at least one other similar position should be created in southern California as well. But restoring this position would be an important step forward.
Posted Jul 16, 2014 10:09 AM by Gail Bateson
No doubt or question should exist about the importance of this position. However, I see a major drawback: No mention is made of tenure or faculty status. It is not only demeaning to see agricultural safety specialists relegated to non-tenured positions as if their work did not merit a faculty appointment, but you will not get the best and brightest if you do not offer the security of a tenure-track position. Look at the most successful agricultural safety programs in the land-grant system -- tenured professors like Bill Field at Purdue, Dennis Murphy at Penn State, Bob Aherin at Illinois, Tom Bean and now Dee Jepsen at Ohio State, Chuck Schwab at Iowa State, Carol Lehtola (retired) at Florida, John Shutske at Minnesota (now Assoc. Dean at Wisconsin) -- these people all had the security and resources of a tenured faculty position. They had major Extension appointments and smaller appointments in research or campus education. You are not going to get people of the caliber of Risto Rautianen or Aaron Yoder at the Univ. of Nebraska Medical Center if you don't offer tenured positions. All states have budget problems and shortfalls in higher education; California's budget woes often get more national attention because of their size. But even with the 2012 passage of Proposition 30 to provide more money for higher education, the problems are not over, according to what I can read. Perhaps you can offer some measure of job security outside of a tenure-track position, and if so, that needs to be made very clear. Otherwise, I would ask, why doesn't this position merit tenure-track faculty status? In my 25+ years in academia (tenure-track), the one consistent reason I have seen from administrators for NOT making a position tenure-track is that they do not want to make a long-term commitment of resources. In other words, when the chips are really down, they need positions that can be eliminated relatively easily, even while occupied; that is almost impossible with a tenured faculty member.
Posted Jul 16, 2014 10:32 AM by Mark A. Purschwitz, Ph.D. Extension Professor, Agricultural Safety and Health, University of Kentucky
If you do an internet search for ag safety California, you will get a very long list of non-profits, for profits, NGOs, insurance companies, etc who are involved in ag safety in some way. This is such a crowded field that most of the UC Farm Advisors don't feel a need to get involved. Before you move forward with this position, it needs to be clearly stated what we are going to do differently or what UC can add.
Posted Jul 16, 2014 4:49 PM by Maxwell Norton
It's imperative that a safety and health specialist position is filled! Farmers, FLC's (Farm labor contractors) and workers need expert agricultural specialized knowledge about workplace risks and research.

Give agricultural safety the same inportance if not more then other industries.
Posted Jul 17, 2014 11:02 AM by Miguel Cabrera
Yes we definitely need at least one safety specialist in the UC system. Several could be justified. When I first started safety training in 1991 there was basically no information available on laws, or much other safety information. It is now much improved between the different Ag. groups such as Ag Safe. When I think about things that are needed I could probably list 100 right off the top of my head. One would be to have a newsletter to keep growers up to date on the laws and regulations. OSHA says ignorance of the law is not an excuse but there are many, both for OSHA and DPR. An important engineering need is a closed system that works, is safe, and easy to use. California has required a closed system for approximately 40 years. There is still not a good one made. The best ones I have seen are made by growers. Lots have been made and abandoned. Probably because fear of liability. Work need to be done with NIOSH to require manufactures to add safety devices to equipment. One example are loader tractors. The industrial loader tractors have a device to keep the loader from falling when someone is working under it. Farm tractors do not. I called a manufacture several years ago and asked them why not? They told me that is not required so they would not put it on because if it failed they would be at fault. If there is nothing it is the growers problem. I called OSHA,. they said they do not control the manufactures. A grower could hire a certified engineer to engineer them one and take responsibility if it failed.. So a $25 safety support would cost $25,000. There are many other similar items.The UC system is a great system. I have been involved with them since I started managing orchards after I left Cal Poly in 1965. They are a extremely important resource. Richard Bruce, Specialty Safety Training.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 7:54 AM by Richard Bruce, Specialty Safety Training.
As an ergonomist with a major California workers’ comp carrier, I was privileged to work with the Ag. Engineering program at UCD for over 15 years, and know firsthand the value of having the position of Ag. Health and Safety Specialist. During that time, many projects were conceived, funded, and completed under the former specialist’s leadership. A huge void has existed for several years since the position was lost. In order to once again have valued health and safety educational programs, to apply for and receive ergonomic research funding, and to continue building trusted relationships among growers, management, and labor, reinstatement of this position is a must.
Posted Jul 20, 2014 8:59 PM by R.J. Banks
To me, having an Agriculture Safety and Health Specialist is critical to bringing together the research, the practice and critical communication necessary for reducing safety risks and driving initiatives for solutions. I have worked in the safety field for 25 years and the individuals who work in this area make a world of difference. Reinstating this critical role will enhance the Univeristy of California and do a lot of good to improve the state of agricultural safety.
Posted Jul 21, 2014 11:50 AM by Darrin Drollinger
Representing AgriSafe, a network of agricultural occupational health nurses serving communities and agricultural businesses across the country, I strongly support this safety specialist position. California not only has a very diverse agricultural economy, it has a very diverse agricultural worker population. The University of California has always been regarded as a leader in safety and health research and development. As educators and healthcare providers, the AgriSafe Network members frequently look to UC agricultural safety and health as a valued and critical resource in program development. We urge the UC administration to continue this critical position as an investment in the health and wellness of agricultural workers and their employers now and in the future.
Posted Jul 21, 2014 12:32 PM by Charlotte Halverson
I wholeheartedly support the re-establishment of the Safety & Health position within the UC system. There is a definite need for an independent third party to assist with the development of engineering and administrative solutions to the myriad of safety challenges that presently exist in agriculture, and which daily seem to arise as technology and farming methods change. My one caveat to the position description would be that the selected candidate have some experience in agriculture as well as meeting the educational criteria. Practical experience is invaluable in being able to work with and relate to all parties involved.
Posted Jul 21, 2014 1:32 PM by Joel Sherman, Safety Director, Grimmway Enterprises Inc.
As Deputy Director of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at UC Berkeley, Davis, and San Francisco, I would like to state our enthusiastic support for refunding the position of an Agriculture Safety and Health Specialist at UC Davis. UC Davis has been a leader in the field of research, education, and training for the agricultural community. Given the widespread safety and health risks associated with agricultural work, restoring this position help reduce risks to the safety and health of farm workers in the future.
Posted Jul 21, 2014 1:53 PM by Patty Quinlan, CIH, MPH, COEH, UC Berkeley, Davis, and San Francisco
I support establishing an Ag Safety and Health Specialist. As Director of Risk & Safety Services for ANR, I work with academics, staff, and clientele to improve safety for our employees and program participants. A CE Safety and Health Specialist could work with the Safety professionals in our department to implement new research and extension activities. In addition to research and extension training for our agricultural clientele, there could be opportunities to introduce new safety tools or procedures among ANR staff and academics at Research & Extension Centers and in Cooperative Extension offices statewide. It would be beneficial to all of these programs to have in-house academic expertise in the area of Safety and Health.
Posted Jul 21, 2014 2:53 PM by Brian Oatman, Director ANR Risk & Safety Services
As the Safety Director for a large grape growing and winemaking company, I fully support refunding of the position of an Agriculture Safety and Health Specialist at UC Davis. Agricultural work is one of the most dangerous industries in California, and since UC Davis is a leader in Agricultural Education in California, it only makes sense that the university is able to provide full service education that includes agricultural safety.
Posted Jul 21, 2014 2:59 PM by Trish Danby, Safety Director of Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines
Should DANR recruit and hire a farm safety specialist? It’s a no-brainer. All agricultural production systems depend on human work, they yield too many injuries along with desirable food and fiber, and injury incidence is very subject to engineering and administrative controls. Applied research and extension work can be instrumental in reducing or eliminating hazards that translate to personal harm and financial costs for people who perform agricultural work, their families, ag employers, and the public treasury. The landscape of work contemplated in the proposed position description is enormous and would represent an unrealistic charge for even a superb incumbent. A lone Extension Specialist in Agricultural Safety and Health might best, at least initially, concentrate on identifying and controlling hazards inherent to new technologies as they develop. While BAE is a fitting home department for this position, safety outcomes are determined by more than engineering decisions. The Specialist should be encouraged not only to contribute a dimension to ANR projects that focus on production of healthy plants and animals but also to draw from UC colleagues in such fields as labor law, business administration, public health, and economics.
Posted Jul 21, 2014 6:52 PM by Howard Rosenberg

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