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About the FAST Program

Virginia Tech Farm Equipment
Virginia Tech Farm Equipment

Farming and agriculture remain among the most hazardous occupations in the United States. A new Virginia Tech Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) program aims to reduce illnesses, injuries, and fatalities associated with farming.

Virginia Tech's Farm and Agriculture Safety Training Program seeks to directly target workers most at risk of illness, injury, or death.  These workers include young workers, workers over 55, and workers with English as a second language. Forty-eight percent of all fatal injuries to workers 15-17 years old occur in agriculture. Nearly 900,000 youth in the United States live on farms, and half of those perform farm work. FAST will also address risks faced by older farm and agricultural workers. With the average age of Virginia’s farmers being 58, older workers often have medical conditions that can increase their risk of falls or entanglement/entrapment in machinery.

FAST is open to any employer or worker covered by the OSH Act, with costs funded through a Susan Harwood Grant. Virginia Tech received $180,000 in funding to develop and deliver the program. Topics covered include Tractor & Implement Safety, Agriculture & OSHA, Hazardous Chemicals, Falls, and ATV Safety. The Capacity Building grant allows EHS to expand Virginia Tech’s ability to provide training, education, and related assistance to farmers.

The EHS Grant Team will be working closely with peer academic institutions, emergency services agencies, and other safety organizations to develop 100 or more Trainers. The program intends to reach 1,000 or more persons in the target audience before September 2021.

About the Grant

The Farm and Agricultural Safety Training (FAST) Program was produced under grant number SH-99061-SH0 from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. It does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.