The agricultural industry, comprising of farms, ranches, fisheries, hatcheries, and logging operations, is one of the most dangerous industries in the world. Agricultural safety data tracks injuries, illnesses, and deaths with the goal of reducing or eliminating them.
Workers suffer injury from farm animals and equipment, both heavy machinery and chemical agents like pesticides and fertilizers. They are vulnerable to disease and to wild animal bites or insect stings. Finally, they face significant psychological stressors that push them to a suicide rate greater than that of any other industry. Thus, researchers often divide agricultural safety into physical, biological, chemical, and psychosocial dimensions.
Most agricultural safety data comes from governments and industries. These organizations use surveys, employer reports, hospital records, and worker’s compensation claims as primary sources.
This type of data is divided into injury, illness, and death.
Further divisions include type of operation (commercial farm, family farm, logging operation) and type of injury. Additionally, hospitals and clinics record worker demographics.
The purpose of this data is injury prevention. Engineers, healthcare providers, farmers, community leaders, and politicians can use any relevant part of the data to prevent or treat physical injuries or mental illness.
There are numerous factors that make accuracy in agricultural safety data difficult, from simple errors in record-keeping to farmer reluctance to report mental illness. Employers also may have different definitions of work-related injuries than the government or may disincentivize employees from reporting injuries. The best solution is to use a variety of sources, just as the government uses hospital records, employer interviews, and workman’s compensation claims to create a more accurate and comprehensive view of the industry.
Farm Aid: Why Farmers Face Unique Threats from Stress
Wiley Online Library: Employer reasons for failing to report eligible workers’ compensation claims in the BLS survey of occupational injuries and illnesses
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has today (Friday, November 27) confirmed that he is to bring a Report Stage Amendment to Finance Bill 2020 in order to introduce “accelerated capital allowances” for farm safety equipment.
There will be a particular emphasis on supporting those who have suffered life-changing injuries as a result of incidents on farms.
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