Health and Safety

Bioenergy feedstock production will have inherent differences from current agricultural processes. These differences could increase the potential for workforce injury or death if not properly understood and if effective protective counter measures are not in place.

The Health and Safety research team addresses two key worker safety elements in the biofuel feedstock supply chain:

  • Feedstock production risks
  • Air/dust exposure

Health and Safety Project Directors

  • Charles Schwab and Mark Hanna, Iowa State University

Health and Safety Resources

Our Health and Safety team members have produced an extensive resource library with material promoting the safe handling of perennial crops and biochar. Check out our Research SummaryFact Sheet and Peer Reviewed Journal Articles (4).

2017 Overview and Research Summary

Overview of Comparative Injury Risk Between Annual Corn and Perennial Switchgrass Production

  • A probabilistic risk assessment model has been created to compare estimated worker injury risk of corn vs. switchgrass production.

Fact Sheet

Master Gardeners' Safety Precautions for Handling, Applying and Storing Biochar (2012)

  • Learn safe practices for handling biochar.

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles and Working Papers

  • Ryan, S. J., C. V. Schwab & G. A. Mosher. 2015. Agricultural Risk: Development of a probabilistic risk assessment model for measurement of the difference in risk of corn and biofuel switchgrass farming systems. International Society for Agriculture Safety and Health. International Meeting Normal, Illinois. ISASH Paper No. 15-01. ISASH Urbana, IL 61801
  • Ryan, S. J., C. V. Schwab & G. A. Mosher. 2016. Comparing worker injury risk in corn and switchgrass production systems: Results from a probabilistic risk assessment model. International Society for Agriculture Safety and Health. International Meeting Normal, Illinois. ISASH Paper No. 16-03. ISASH Urbana, IL 61801
  • Schaufler, D. H., A.M. Yoder, D.J. Murphy, C.V. Schwab & A. F. Dehart. 2014. Safety and health hazards in on-farm biomass production and processing. J. of Ag. Safety & Health. 20(4):283-299. doi: 10.13031/jash.20.10639
  • Yoder, A. M., C. V. Schwab, P. Gunderson & D. J. Murphy. 2014. Safety and health in biomass production, transportation and storage. J.Agromedicine. 19:83-86. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24911681. doi: 10.1080/1059924X.2014.886539. (Abstract Only)