The agricultural industry, comprising of farms, ranches, fisheries, hatcheries, and logging operations, is one of the most dangerous industries in the world, with many unfortunate accidents taking place. Agricultural safety data tracks injuries, illnesses, and deaths with the goal of reducing or eliminating them.
Workers can suffer injury from equipment, both heavy machinery and chemical agents like pesticides and fertilizers, as well as from farm animals. Workers 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 official sources like 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 3 categories – injury, illness, and death.
Further divisions include the type of establishment (commercial farm, family farm, logging operation) and the type of injury. Additionally, the hospitals and clinics record worker demographics.
The purpose of this data is mainly for 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. Relying on a variety of sources is the best solution, 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.
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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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