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Who We Are

The Northeast Center for Occupational Health and Safety

In Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing

Jobs in agriculture, forestry and fishing share a few challenges. They’re all labor intensive, weather dependent and risky.

That last common denominator—risk—is what the Northeast Center is dedicated to reducing. We work to understand the safety and health challenges and to identify actionable solutions so that workers in these three essential industries can thrive and survive on the job, whether that work is a passion, a paycheck or a combination of both.

How do we do this?




1 in 10
U.S. farming, logging and fishing deaths happen in our region
> 750,000
# of "AgFF" workers in the Northeast
Our Mission

Why We Exist

Ag, forestry and fishing workers experience the highest fatal injury rate at 23.4 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers, compared to 3.5 deaths per 100,000 workers for all U.S. industries. We believe workers in these three industries should have the chance to make a living without getting hurt, losing a limb or, worse, losing a life.

By conducting research, providing education and developing programs, we work to improve the health and safety of commercial farmers, loggers and fishery workers.

How We Work

Translating Research into Practice

Research should have a purpose, and, for us, that purpose involves developing strategies that lead to improvements in the lives of agricultural, forestry and fishery workers. At the Northeast Center, we strive to conduct research that is relevant and that translates seamlessly into worker adoption, worksite improvements or industry practice. Over the years, the Center has been successful at moving evidence-based approaches into worker practice or into improvements at the worksite. Outlined here are the four steps to translating research to practice and examples of work we are conducting or have conducted along each phase.

Identifying Health and Safety Problems

Examples of this initial research phase at the Northeast Center include the following studies:

Maine Logger Health & Safety Study Surveillance | Tracking Injuries & Fatalities Sleep Deprivation in Commercial Fishing

Identifying Potential Solutions

An example of this type of research would be the ergonomic solutions for lobstermen study. We like to call it:

Boat Hacks for Better Backs

Testing Solutions on a Small Scale

Providing lobstermen a chance to learn about and try on different personal flotation devices and lifejackets at the docks was a key part of testing how lobstermen might overcome their reluctance to wear these life-saving devices when working out at sea.

Lifejackets for Lobstermen Project

Testing Solutions on a Large Scale

The Northeast Center established the New York ROPS Rebate Program in 2006 and expanded to create programs in three additional Northeast states by 2011. The programs’ success led to the National Tractor Safety Coalition’s formation in 2014 in order to establish the

National ROPS Rebate Program
Our History

The Northeast Center is one of 12 Agricultural Safety and Health Centers funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) agency that is responsible for developing worker health and safety solutions. These 12 NIOSH centers  specifically address occupational health and safety issues in the high-risk agricultural, forestry and fishing  (AgFF) industries. Our center addresses the specific occupational health and safety needs of AgFF workers from Maine to West Virginia.

We collaborate with NIOSH AgFF centers on national events and initiatives, such as developing the CDC Guidance for Agriculture Workers and Employers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and creating educational videos for a shared YouTube channel.

Our Center is closely associated with the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) and Bassett Healthcare Network, all based out of Cooperstown, NY. We also frequently partner with other research, educational and occupational health institutions including the following universities: Pennsylvania State, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, George Mason and the University of Delaware, plus Cooperative Extension programs throughout the Northeast.

Our Team

Lead Researchers

View Our Staff Directory
Julie Sorensen, Director

Julie Sorensen, PhD


Erika Scott, PhD

Deputy Director

Email |  Phone  |  Download CV


Pam Milkovich, PhD

Research Scientist
Dr. Mandy Roome

Amanda Roome, PhD

Research Scientist
Conor Hammersley

Conor Hammersley, PhD

Research Scientist
Our Partners
logo for the Great Lakes Center for Farmworker Health and Wellbeing

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