Occupational health hazards of agriculture

understanding the links between agriculture and health

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the agricultural sector is one of the most hazardous to health worldwide. Agricultural work possesses several characteristics that are risky for health: exposure to the weather, close contact with animals and plants, extensive use of chemical and biological products, difficult working postures and lengthy hours, and use of hazardous agricultural tools and machinery. This brief outlines the occupational health hazards of agriculture, presents a case study on the trade-offs between their health and economic impacts, and proposes responses… To effect change, the agriculture and health sectors should work together more closely. The agricultural sector should develop and build on ways of working with farmers to grow crops that promote healthier cultivation practices and reduce exposure to hazards. Health-sector staff, meanwhile, should document health problems and identify the greatest hazards, help explain the health reasons for such changes, and monitor changes in health with improved production methods.

Cole, Donald
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International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
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