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Safe and Healthy community groups in the farming sector or just community groups ?

Oct 11, 2023 | News

Regarding the social sustainability of the agricultural sector in Europe, it is important to note that farmers and agricultural workers are at the center of food business and production. Therefore, it is important to look not only at economic and environmental factors but also at the social sustainability and social status of agricultural entrepreneurs point of view. Without our farmers, food would not reach the table of EU citizens and it would be much more expensive. 

A key factor in the social sustainability of the industry is to manage and combine occupational well-being and occupational safety as part of the farm’s business strategy. There are still physically demanding and risky work phases on farms, which cannot be done without sufficient workability and know-how. Could you handle a 500 kg farm animal in a panic situation? While it may seem difficult, with the help of specific risk management and occupational safety management skills for farming, it is possible to work safely on farms. 

In general, the three most important means of occupational health and safety management and good safety culture in agriculture are:  

  1. Legislation and politics,  
  2. Development of agriculture engineering, and 
  3. Education and training.  

These means to develop farm health and safety management are combined in the Safehabitus – project Communities of Practice in 11 different EU countries (Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Slovenia, Romania, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Finland).  

In the workshops, which span from administrative to practice level, each Community of Practice (CoP) strives to find solutions and strategies for effectively managing the most significant health and safety risks associated with farm activities. It is essential to understand a farm as both a business unit, where a broad range of skills are needed, and a home for the farmer’s family. In the workshops, the search for the priority needs of farm safety management in each COP country. The priority needs are refined through the integration of current research and statistical insights, as well as the perspectives of farm stakeholders. 

Farmers and farm stakeholders are invited to these workshops and discussions during the years 2023-2026 to address key safety needs and solutions in farm production. Approximately 10 workshops per country will be organised and then at least three transnational workshops. The first workshops are arranged end of the year 2023 to combine the views of farmers, their families, farm associations, public administration, researchers, and experts from other fields on ways to promote truly sustainable agriculture in Europe, where food producers are also taken into account. 

Work Package 2 leader: Dr. Jarkko Leppälä, Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE)