An international team of 45 farm safety experts, researchers, farmer and farm worker representative organisations met in Dublin on January 25th and 26th to begin implementing an ambitious initiative to improve farmer and worker health and safety across the EU. The SafeHabitus project has received 4.8 million euros in funding through the EU Horizon Europe programme and will run for four years.
Speaking at the meeting the project leader, David Meredith stated that SafeHabitus is focused on reducing injuries and fatalities amongst farmers and farm workers and strengthening the social sustainability of EU food systems. Farming is one of the most dangerous jobs in Europe. European statistics show that the fatality rate in farming is 233% higher than other industries and the accident rate is 18% higher. Dr Meredith stressed that these figures underestimate the scale of the problem as a significant proportion of farm workplace fatalities, injuries and ill health go unreported, un-investigated, and prevention approaches are not learned. Improving farmers’ and farm workers’ health and safety requires action by a range of stakeholders to empower and support them to change unsafe practices and adopt new, safer and healthier ways of working.
SafeHabitus is led by Teagasc, the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Organisation, and involves 20 partners in 12 EU member states including Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Belgium, France and Spain.
The project involves a network of researchers, farm advisory services and educators, who will work with farmers and policy makers at national and EU levels of design, develop and test practical initiatives that support improvements in the safety, health and wellbeing of farmers and farm workers, and overall contribute to the EU transition to social sustainability in farming.