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998 Farmers’ occupational accidents in Finland
  1. Jukka Mäittälä,
  2. Merja Perkiö-Mäkelä,
  3. Maria Hirvonen,
  4. Birgitta Kinnunen,
  5. Milja Koponen,
  6. Kyösti Louhelainen,
  7. Jouni Sipponen
  1. Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Kuopio, Finland


Background According to the statistics of the Farmers’ Social Insurance Institution Mela, approximately six per cent of insured farmers have received compensation for an occupational accident in recent years.

Methods The study population consisted of 3117 farmers and was weighted to be equivalent to the actual distribution of the production sector in Finland in 2014. The data was collected through computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI). The structure of the interviews was planned by a group of experts at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, and included questions on the nature of occupational accidents.

Results Of the interviewed farmers, 15% had had an accident during farm work in the previous 12 months. Out of these, two thirds required medical care after the accident. Livestock farmers were far more likely to have had occupational accidents than crop farmers. One in four (25%) dairy cattle farmers had had an accident, while the number for crop farmers was 11%. Relative to part-time farmers, full-time farmers had had more accidents (19% and 7%, respectively) and were also more likely to have required medical care afterwards (13% and 5%, respectively). The most recent occupational accident for which farmers had seen a doctor had usually occurred either during cattle tending (24%), forest work (13%) or maintaining machines (12%).

Conclusions According to the farmers’ own accounts, there had been a third more occupational accidents requiring medical care than what is shown in the compensation statistics of Mela. This is largely explained by the bonus system of the current farmer’s accident insurance legislation in which the insurance fees significantly decrease after a number of years without accidents. The greater frequency of accidents among full-time farmers is explained both by a greater amount of time spent on farm work and a larger focus on the more high-risk livestock farming.

  • farmer
  • occupational accident

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