Better marketing tactics may lead to improved safety in one of the nation's most dangerous occupations -- farming, according to Penn State researchers.
"Along with mining and construction, farming is one of the top three most hazardous industries," said Aaron Yoder, instructor of agricultural and biological engineering. "Farming is also less regulated and has more exemptions than other industries."
Social marketing campaigns that focus on the benefits of and barriers to persuading people to change behaviors could help raise awareness about farm safety issues, said Yoder said. In the past, organizations have used social marketing tactics in creating successful campaigns to change such behaviors, as smoking and overeating.
"When we think of marketing, we usually think of using it to sell something, but in the case of social marketing, we're using it to try to change behaviors," said Yoder.
Yoder, who worked with Dennis Murphy, Distinguished Professor of agricultural safety and health, studied how social marketing principles could be used to persuade people to install rollover protective structures -- ROPS -- on older-model tractors. A ROPS consists of a frame and a seat belt that offers protection to the driver if the tractor rolls over. Between 2000 and 2008, 58 people died in farm-related, tractor-rollover accidents in Pennsylvania alone, according to Yoder.
The researchers used surveys and focus groups to gather information about what would motivate farmers to buy and install a ROPS on an older-model tractor, and what barriers prevent them from installing the equipment. They published their findings in the Journal of Agromedicine and will present the information at the International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health conference on June 28 in Burlington, Vt.
Participants in the focus groups indicated that cost was one barrier, but offering a rebate on the ROPS could serve as motivator to p
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