Safety in agriculture, an issue for Europe
Members of the European Parliament Paolo De Castro and Elisabetta Gardini raised questions in Brussels to speed up the creation of a single database for the entire European Union area for analytical reporting of the data on accidents involving the use of agricultural machinery. The INAIL, National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work, Observatory found that these events increased in Italy by 14% in 2015 over 2014 to 486 fatal accidents and serious injuries
Following Technical Committee CEN TC144 approval last May of a basic document by a strong majority for a full EU census of accidents with agricultural machinery the issue of on the job safety in agriculture returned to the fore thanks to the Italian initiative. On June 24th, MEPs Paolo De Castro and Elisabetta Gardini questioned the Brussels Parliament for the purpose of pushing Member State to quickly comply with EN16831, the norm “Agricultural and forestry tractors and agricultural machinery - Safety - Format for reporting accidents with tractors and agricultural machinery” which prescribes not only an overall census of these accidents but a single standard for classifying them, as is the case for automobile or motorcycle accidents.
The Italian MEPs handling issues involving agricultural mechanization and safety on the job affirm that an EU wide database for collecting technical data on the way every single accident occurred, the characteristics of the machinery involved, environmental conditions when the accident occurred and a profile of the user is essential for gaining a full understanding of the phenomena and a policy for prevention.
The quality of the machinery inventory, competence of operators and respect for safety procedures are fundamental for limiting the phenomena showing a worrisome increase also in Italy.
According preview data from the INAIL Research Observatory on accidents in agriculture and forestry, there were 281 serious injuries and 205 fatal accidents reported in 2015 for an increase of 59 cases, 14%, over those recorded in 2014. Some 60% of these accidents were attributed to tractor rollovers. INAIL statistics for 2014 put accidents which occurred with the use of cultivators and chainsaws at some 10%.
Of special interest in the INAIL Observatory report, to be published in the near future, are the data on geographic distribution of accidents and the ages of the operator of machinery. The age of the operator was a decisive factor in the 2014 data in that 67% of fatal or serious injuries involved operators of age 50 or over to confirm the consideration that excessive confidence with the machine and less attention paid to new safety procedures can result in serious risk factors.
by the editorial staff