SafeHabitus was kicked-off in January 2023 with the ambitious goal of making the farming sector safer, healthier and more resilient towards societal and environmental challenges. Around 8 months since then, the basis to create that change has been set. Let´s have an overview of the progress made.
The objective of Work Package 2 is to establish multi-actor Communities of Practice in eleven different countries. When it comes to ensuring the social sustainability of the agricultural sector in Europe, the CoPs acknowledge 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, and above all, their point of view.
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 work ability and know-how.
In general, the three most important means of occupational health and safety management and good safety culture in agriculture are:
- Legislation and politics,
- Development of agriculture engineering, and
- 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.
A more detailed article will follow soon to provide a more in-depth insight.
The objectives of Work Package 3 are to enhance understanding of farmer and farm worker health and safety, understand the causes and consequences of farm workplace injuries and illnesses and the development and evaluation of farm occupational health and safety (OHS) tools and their evaluation along with co-designing and evaluating approaches to engagement with and use of such tools.
With Task 3.1, to-date a preliminary evaluation Eurostat data of farming populations and fatal and non-fatal injuries has been completed. To establish means by which data collection can be strengthened, a survey for Community of Practice (CoP) coordinators (WP2) has been developed with it is planned implementation over the 6-month period from October.
A case-study of Irish national systems in place for fatal and non-fatal farm injury data collection and its utilisation has been completed and a paper from this work has been provisionally accepted for publication. Two further case-studies for Estonia and Finland are in progress.
With Task 3.2, plans for production and use of farm injury victim testimonials awaits the findings of a review by the Ethics mentor for the Safe Habitus Project.
An evaluation of farm occupational health and safety risk management tools is currently being undertaken with an initial fifty studies/ reports on such systems being reviewed (Task 3.3).
Plans for co-designing, completion by farmers and evaluating end user experience of selected OHS risk management tools are in place (Task 3.4;3.5;3.6).
In March and April, WP4 on “Enhancing the attractiveness of farming” organised a workshop on the guidelines of the work package and the criteria for analysing the literature, which are part of task 1. Currently, the team members are familiarising themselves with the abstract, citation databases and software for creating a common reference library, as well as drafting and identifying key words for the four thematic areas:
- Culture of farming, farm safety, and farmer wellbeing;
- Social protection of farmers in the EU;
- Farming and psychosocial challenges and opportunities; and
- Technology – implications for future health and safety of farmers/workers.
Members of the team have already contributed by organising a roundtable on ‘Improving the Social Sustainability of Farming: Understanding the quality of life of farmers and farm workers’ and by presenting their papers at the European Society for Rural Sociology 2023 conference held in Rennes, France, in early July.
WP5 aims to provide knowledge on the specific risks faced by migrant workers in agriculture, with a specific learning focus on the strawberry value chain in Huelva (Spain). Over the past few weeks, the team has been working on gathering articles and reports to undertake a literature review on the issue of the labour and working conditions of migrant workers in agriculture in Europe. Based on the findings from the literature review, a report will be published by Oxfam in 2024 on migrant workers in European Agriculture: labour conditions and occupational hazards. The team has also been focusing on developing and validating the ToR for this report.
Work Package 6 will create Policy and Governance frameworks to strengthen Farm Health and Safety Knowledge Innovation Systems (FHS KIS) and support the EU transition to social sustainability in farming. It will develop proposed policy solutions based on research, analysis and activities from the project. SAFEHABITUS will implement these activities through a series of activities, such as the European Policy Forum (EPF) bringing together the key policy-makers and stakeholders in FHS; Policy Workshops (PWs) and specific publications. The latter will be produced towards the end of the project and will include a farm safety and health data report, guidance and case studies. Policy Recommendations will be published in the final Policy toolkit which will bring together all the main policy outputs from the project.
To date, work has begun on the mapping of the key EU policy-makers and stakeholders who will make up the EPF and a report will be published in early 2024. The first EPF will take place around the second quarter of 2024 and work has begun on defining its Terms of Reference and objectives. Work has begun on the first two Policy Workshops (PW) which will focus on 1. Mental health and well-being of farmers and farm workers (end 2023) and 2. Working conditions of seasonal and mobile workers (early 2024).
Work Package 1, focusing on communication, dissemination, and engagement, plays a central role throughout this four-year project. In the first eight months, the team established the project’s online presence by creating the project website and setting up social media profiles on platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. These platforms were chosen to facilitate the continuous sharing of events, news updates, and project progress related to SafeHabitus.
To ensure effective communication, a comprehensive strategic communication plan was developed and shared with all project partners. This initiative was undertaken to ensure that all partners are well-informed about the diverse objectives that WP1 aims to accomplish during the project’s course.
Exciting developments are on the horizon, as the project website is gearing up to introduce a new section known as the Knowledge Hub. This dedicated section will serve as a repository for various materials relevant to the project, making them readily accessible to everyone involved. Stay tuned for announcements about this forthcoming addition to the website, which will be prominently featured on the project’s social media channels. Keep a close watch for updates!
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