During industrialization in agriculture, many farming machines have been introduced. It is well-known that farming is a dangerous workplace and that farm machinery cause many serious accidents every year. Four cases of accidents with potato harvesters are discussed. In three of four cases the farmers were injured while cleaning the machine without stopping it, which probably was the main cause of the accidents. Farmers are in general not careful enough when using farm machinery. Every year, farmers in Denmark are severely invalided in accidents with potato harvesters. A strategy to lower the accidents is proposed: 1. Information of farmers, farmer schools, machine constructors and importers about mechanisms of injury. 2. A better education of farmers in using potato harvesters (and other farming machines). 3. Better fencing of the potato harvesters. 4. If possibly constructional changes in the potato harvesters so things will not get stuck, or so that the machine will stop if things stuck. 5. Installation of switches on potato harvesters, which can be reached from all positions, stopping the machines immediately, or a remote switch control carried by the farmer.
Children are at high risk for agricultural injury, yet there is little documentation about the range of farm work that children perform or the ages at which children experience these work exposures. The purpose of this study was to identify the scope of agricultural jobs performed by farm children and to describe variations in work involvement within demographic subgroups. A descriptive analysis was conducted of baseline data collected by telephone interview during a multi-site randomized controlled trial. The study population consisted of 1,138 children from 498 North American farms. A total of 2,389 jobs were reported for the 1,138 children. The leading categories of work were animal care, crop management, and tractor with implement operation. Regional differences were observed, consistent with variations in commodities. Substantial proportions of children were assigned to farm work even in the youngest age group of 7-9 years. Males were differentially assigned to tractor with implement operations, while females were more often assigned to animal care. This study provides one of the first systematic accounts of farm work performed by North American children. This analysis of work exposures provides information from which known prevention priorities can be reinforced and new opportunities for prevention identified.
Risk management, for the control of toxic chemicals in particular, and risky human activity in general, begins with the perception of risk and the identification of hazards. The machinery of quantification and evaluation of risk proceeds in a climate of risk perception, and is affected by the state of such perception among all participants in the process. The management of risk, either through legislation or corporate decision making, although ideally objective, is frequently governed by subjective considerations, especially when those individuals or bodies responsible for management decisions develop a 'local' perception of risk. The details of decision making and the sensitivity of the process to various sources of information is reviewed with emphasis on the control of toxic chemicals.