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June 2014

AgrAbility UKI

Rob Stuthridge of AgrAbility UKI presented a paper on designing for disabled farmers at the Irish Ergonomics Society (IES) annual conference at the National University of Ireland's Galway campus on May 16. The paper was co-authored by Bill Field of the NAP and is being peer reviewed in preparation for publication in IES conference proceedings.

The presentation was very well received and immediately resulted in the formation of an exciting new forum called the Disability in Agricultural Work Community of Practice (DAWCoP).

DAWCoP is focused on reducing the incidence, prevalence and adverse impact of disability on farming in Europe and beyond. Already its membership includes the Health and Safety Agency (Ireland), Teagasc, AgrAbility UKI, University College Dublin, National University of Ireland and the Health and Safety Laboratory (UK). New institutional members are joining weekly and AgrAbility UKI has invited staff from the Irish Farmers Association, Loughborough University and the University of Limerick, with disability groups being selected for involvement over the next few weeks.

So far, DAWCoP has proposed an international conference on disability in agriculture. The conference, which will take place in Ireland, will embrace physical, behavioral, social, structural, economic and psychological factors relating to agricultural injury/disability prevention, rehabilitation and accommodation.

DAWCoP will establish a framework/format for the conference, review proposals and publish proceedings in peer reviewed journals and in print, radio, television and internet media for dissemination to farming, healthcare and disability stakeholders.

Agricultural health, safety and human factors specialists from around the world are invited to contribute their knowledge to DAWCoP and to the conference. As is AgrAbility's normal practice, farmers with disabilities will participate both in the forum and the conference. Applications for membership from AgrAbility projects and partners will be warmly received.

Submitted by Rob Stuthridge