Farm-work related injuries in South Korean agriculture can be reduced

farm work

As the Act on Farmers’ and Fishers’ Occupational Injury and Disease Insurance and Prevention was finally passed in 2016 as the result of experts’ persistent effort in South Korea, demands to develop intervention programs, guidelines and regulations to prevent farm-work related injury have increased.

The aim of MPH Hyocher Kim’s dissertation was to explore the scale of occupational injury and suggest a direction for developing occupational safety and health checklists and regulations in Korean agriculture.

The main hypothesis of the dissertation was that occupational injury rate in agriculture was higher than most other industries. The second hypothesis was that it is possible to suggest directions for the regulation required for prevention of farmers’ occupational injuries based on the analysis of each injury type with the safety system.

The Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination data (n=11837) was analyzed for looking into differences in scale of injury by type of occupation. The injury rate in skilled agricultural, forestry, and fishery workers (7.7% annually) was second highest after craft, equipment, machine operating, and assembly workers.

The second part of the Ph.D. study identified the magnitude of farm work–related injuries among farmers, using Korea Farmers’ Occupational Disease and Injury Survey data (n=16160). In 2012, 3.6% of farmers experienced farm-work related nonfatal injuries requiring outpatient or inpatient treatment.

The third substudy examined the root causes in 68 injury cases and identified errors in systems of safety. Deriving root causes of occupational injury and classifying them as errors in safety systems revealed that farm-work related injury occurred as a result of a combination of errors in a variety of systems.

The last substudy proposed directions for improving checkelists and regulations by reviewing the items from various checklists using systems of safety. According to the study, safety system errors confirmed in the field should be reviewed by injury type and items suggesting system improvement should be developed on the basis of the analysis. The most desirable type of checklist or regulation consists of a maximal number of items classifiable in terms of safety systems for each injury type. Complex and multiple solutions should be included for injury types to more efficiently prevent farm-work related injuries.

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