Accident and safety are related terms; the higher the accident rate in any industry, the greater is the need for safety measures designed to prevent accidents. This article discusses the accident and safety problems in agriculture, which includes horticulture and forestry.
There is still a tendency among townspeople to think of the countryside as peaceful and tranquil, a place where nothing happens very quickly and far removed from violent death or crippling injury. This pleasant rustic picture has undergone a striking change in the last 30 years owing to considerable agricultural mechanization and the development of chemical pesticides, which have brought new dangers to those who live and work on the land.
Although men have readily adapted themselves to new machines and methods, they have not proved as able to recognize new dangers and learn how to guard against them. In consequence, accidents have increased to such an extent that the whole industry has realized the need for positive preventive measures.
In this country, it is generally accepted that an employer of labour has a responsibility to provide safe working conditions for those he employs. Farm safety legislation goes a little further and usually requires an employer to provide necessary safeguards, with the added requirement on a worker to make use of them.
It is a feature of accident prevention work that it never reaches a stage when it can be regarded as complete. Even when a reduction in accidents has been achieved, the effort must be sustained or the trend will be quickly reversed.
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