Agricultural Health and Safety Survey in Friuli Venezia Giulia

2018 Agriculture  
The work in the agricultural sector has taken on a fundamental role in the last decades, due to the still too high rate of fatal injuries, workplace accidents, and dangerous occurrences reported each year. The average old age of agricultural machinery is one of the main issues at stake in Italy. Numerous safety problems stem from that; therefore, two surveys were conducted in two different periods, on current levels of work safety in agriculture in relation to agricultural machinery's age and
more » ... ficiency, and to show the levels of actual implementation of the Italian legislation on safety and health at work in the agricultural sector. The surveys were carried out, considering a sample of 161 farms located in the region Friuli Venezia Giulia (North-East of Italy). The research highlights the most significant difficulties the sample of farms considered have in enforcing the law. One hand, sanitary surveillance and workers' information and training represent the main deficiencies and weakest points in family farms. Moreover, family farms do not generally provide the proper documentation concerning health and safety at workplaces, when they award the contract to other companies. On the other hand, lack of maintenance program for machinery and equipment, and of emergency plans and participation of workers' health and safety representative, are the most common issues in farms with employees. Several difficulties are also evident in planning workers' training programs. Furthermore, the company physician's task is often limited to medical controls, so that he is not involved in risk assessment and training. Interviews in heterogeneous samples of farms have shown meaningful outcomes, which have subsequently been used to implement new databases and guidelines for Health and Safety Experts and courses in the field of Work Safety in agriculture. In conclusion, although the legislation making training courses for tractor operators and tractor inspections compulsory dates back to the years 2012 and 2015, deadlines have been prorogued, and the law is not yet fully applied, so that non-upgraded unfit old agricultural machinery is still being used by many workers, putting their health and their own lives at risk. Despite many projects and awareness campaigns concerning the issue of safety in agricultural activities, conducted particularly by the National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work, vehicles, being non-compliant and potentially fatal in the event of an accident [4] [5] [6] , are still present in farms and on the market. Many case studies [7] [8] [9] [10] show that tractors lacking essential safety requirements-like seat belts and Roll Over Protection Systems-can cause fatal accidents in case of roll-over of the vehicle [1]. Accidents caused by and with tractors are statistically one of the most frequent causes of death in agriculture [1, 11, 12] . In Italy, the underestimation of this phenomenon has been observed for many years; in fact, only accidents involving farm employees were registered as 'occupational accidents' until 2014, while those involving semi-professional operators were considered as 'domestic accidents' [1] . According to a recent study on serious accidents in agriculture in Friuli Venezia Giulia (North East of Italy), an estimated rate of 30% cases are not surveyed or investigated [1, 3] . Considering only the deadly accidents in agriculture and forestry operations, concern arises, as 51% of these accidents happened while workers were operating tractors (75% located on field and 25% while driving on roads) [4, 13, 14] . As far as accident dynamics are concerned, machine rollover represents 77% of accidents, while accidents involving the cardan shaft account for 0.7% only, but 66% of cases result in the death of the operator [15, 16] . According to the reconstruction of 60 fatal accidents with tractors (northeast Italy) [2, 11] , the origin of these accidents can be categorized into three types:
doi:10.3390/agriculture8010009 fatcat:zx2y3v6c25hzvnyxw4syakaafa