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Liability Issues Related to Assistive Technology for Farmers with Disabilities

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2007 ASAE Annual Meeting  075114.(doi:10.13031/2013.23551)
Authors:   Ronald T Schuler, Mark E Novak
Keywords:   AgrAbility, disability, disabled, agriculture, farm, farm injuries, farmers and ranchers with disabilities, farm workers with disabilities, farming with a handicap, rural injuries, farming with an amputation, assistive technology, secondary injuries in farming and ranching, farm equipment modification, liability

Annually about 1500 farmers and ranchers with disabilities receive assistance from AgrAbility staff in the U. S. This assistance frequently involves developing a work site assessment plan which provides recommendations for the purchase of assistive technology equipment. As the AgrAbility staff recommends this equipment the staff must be aware of liability issues related to its recommendations. In many cases, the equipment may be commercially available which will minimize the liability risk. Nonetheless, if the equipment is not properly selected, it may increase the risk of secondary injuries. When the assistive technology is not commercially available, the AgrAbility staff may recommend modifying commercially available equipment or recommend fabricating equipment to meet the needs. The National AgrAbility Project has provided training and posted resources on its web site to assist state staff in understanding liability issues. A survey of state staff was conducted to provide an indication of their understanding of liability issues and the additional training and resources they felt they needed to meet their needs when providing assistance to farmers and ranchers with disabilities.

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