Occupational Health and Safety for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

Occupational Health and Safety for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

Edited by E. Kevin Kelloway and Cary L. Cooper

Small and medium sized enterprises constitute the vast majority of businesses in most developed economies. Although a large number of people are employed in such organizations, research and practice in occupational health and safety has largely ignored the unique challenges of this sector. In this highly relevant book, international experts in the field summarize existing knowledge and identify the best practices for enhancing occupational health and safety in small and medium sized enterprises. The authors specifically identify solutions that are appropriate for small businesses.

Chapter 5: Hidden Occupational Fatalities in the Agricultural Industry

Peter Y. Chen and Lorann Stallones

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, organisational behaviour


Peter Y. Chen and Lorann Stallones Agricultural work is accompanied with diverse hazards in the process of plowing, planting, growing, fertilizing, harvesting, packing, loading, repairing pens and gates, raising livestock, milking, breeding, birthing, tending sick or injured animals, mixing feed, feeding, moving animals, cleaning stalls and corrals, and so on (Cigularov et al., 2009). Many farm workers apply pesticides and fertilizers to crops, and operate and repair farm equipment. Most of the above activities are physically challenging. During planting and harvesting of crops, workers are in the fields for many hours and often work every day of the week. Those involved in livestock operations, particularly in dairy operations must also work long hours every day of the week tending to the cows. Based on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA, 2010), there were 2.2 million farms that had generated approximately $331 billion in 2009. Of these farms, more than 90 percent were owned by individuals or families. Most farms involve relatively few acres, with 54.4 percent operating 1–99 acres and 31 percent operating 100–499 acres. The critical contribution of the agricultural industry to the society, however, is accompanied by an unacceptable loss of workers’ lives. Over the past two decades, this industry has been ranked as the most dangerous occupation (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [NIOSH], 2010) based on rates of fatal and non-fatal injuries. The fatality rate for farm workers is approximately six times higher than the average rate for all industries (22.5/100 000...

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