Introduction Agriculture plays an important part in Europe’s economy. The EU-28’s farm labour force in 2013 reached 22.2 million–not all full-time-, most of them in Poland and Romania (‘Agriculture, forestry and fishery statistics’, Eurostat, 2016). A majority of farms are small businesses, very frequently family run. The sector is highly diverse and so are its OSH challenges, most often leading to higher than average accidents and health problems, both physical and mental. ESENER-2 provides a comparative picture of OSH management in agriculture across Europe.
Methods ESENER-2 is a survey of 49 320 establishments across 36 European countries, covering all size classes and sectors, completed in autumn 2014. It asks ‘the person who knows best in the establishment how OSH is managed’ about:
OSH in general,
drivers and barriers to OSH management, and
Data were analysed using SPSS.
Results Most frequently reported risks are ‘risk of accidents with machines or hand tools’ (78%) and ‘risks of accidents with vehicles in the course of work (73%), clearly above the average. Agriculture tops the ranking for two of the risk factors considered in ESENER-2: ‘heat, cold or draught’ (65%) and ‘repetitive hand or arm movements’ (63%), and is clearly above the average for ‘chemical or biological substances’ (62%) and ‘long or irregular working hours’ (35%).
Conclusion At EU level these challenges have been recognised as a priority. ESENER-2 confirms the wide range of OSH issues identified in other sources and points too at a lower than average use of ‘support’ services in agriculture, as well as awareness problems. Further analyses of the findings contribute to a better understanding of the challenges and drivers and support policy makers and experts in their future actions to promote a health and safety culture in agriculture.
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