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Safety and health in agriculture

This code of practice is intended to raise awareness of the hazards and risks associated with agriculture and promote their effective management and control; to help prevent occupational accidents and diseases and improve the working environment in practice; to encourage governments, employers, workers and other stakeholders to cooperate to prevent accidents and diseases; to promote more positive attitudes and behaviour towards occupational safety and health in agriculture throughout the sector; ensure that good workplace health and safety practices are applied to all workers in the workplace regardless of age or gender.

Code of practice | 21 March 2011
Reference: 978-92-2-124970-2[ISBN]

Agriculture is one of the most hazardous of all economic sectors and many agricultural workers suffer occupational accidents and ill health each year. It is also the largest sector for female employment in many countries, especially in Africa and Asia. Agriculture employs some one billion workers worldwide, or more than a third of the world's labour force, and accounts for approximately 70 per cent of child labour worldwide.

This code of practice is devoted to improving OSH in agriculture and complements the Safety and Health in Agriculture Convention 2001 (No. 184), and its supplementing Recommendation (No. 192), and provides further guidance for their application in practice. It provides guidance on appropriate strategies to address the range of OSH risks encountered in agriculture in order to prevent – as far as is reasonably possible – accidents and diseases for all those engaged in this sector. It also provides guidance on the roles of the competent authorities, employers, workers and their organizations in promoting OSH within this sector. Its provisions are based on principles contained in Convention No. 184 and many other ILO Conventions and Recommendations.

Importantly, OSH standards affecting women workers have been traditionally underestimated because these standards and exposure limits to hazardous substances are based on male populations and laboratory tests. Since the majority of agricultural workers are women, this code takes into consideration the gender dimensions of OSH in agriculture. This is a positive development which more closely reflects the reality of the sector.

The code was adopted by an international group of experts meeting in Geneva from 25 to 29 October 2010. It was endorsed and approved for publication by the Governing Body of the ILO at its 310th Session (March 2011).

Tags: ILO codes of practice, agriculture, occupational safety and health

Unit responsible: Sectoral Activities

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