Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2017

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Occupational and Environmental Health

First Advisor

Diane S. Rohlman


Background: Agriculture is the most hazardous occupational industry for young adults. Young adults are engaging in agricultural work and interacting with common hazards, however, it is unknown how young adults are engaging with such hazards and whether administrative controls including workplace organizational factors and social influences in the workplace are associated with safe working practice.

Methods: Workplace practices were examined among young adult agricultural workers (18-24). Workers responded to statements regarding their participation in six agricultural work areas, specific behaviors within each work area, risk-taking behaviors of parents, peers, and supervisors, and items about workplace organizational characteristics. A second study, conducted among swine facility workers in the Midwest, tested the effectiveness of an intervention that coupled behavioral theory with technology to increase the use of hearing protection in swine facilities.

Results: Results from the cross-sectional, online survey indicated supervisor influence was more strongly associated with reported workplace behaviors than co-worker/peer or parent influence. Furthermore, organizational factors including number of hours worked each week and the presence of safety and health policies was associated with workplace behaviors Results from the intervention study suggest behavioral tracking is effective at increasing the use of hearing protection among young adult swine facility workers in the short term, however, changes in behavior are not maintained over time. Supplying hearing protection is a more effective tool in facilitating sustainable behavioral change.

Conclusions: Results suggest interventions that address social and organizational factors of work to improve workplace behaviors among young adult agricultural workers should be tested.


Agriculture, Health, Occupational Safety & Health, Safety, Young adults, Young workers


xiv, 217 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 151-161).


Copyright © 2017 Josie M. Rudolphi