|Guide to Health and Hygiene in Agricultural Work (ILO, 1979, 328 p.)|
|6. Organisation of occupational health services and medical inspection of labour in agriculture|
|6.4. Problems of education and training in occupational health and hygiene in agriculture|
The teaching staffs of universities are particularly well qualified to conduct training courses. Their experience in research and teaching enables them to master the subjects, express them with the maximum of clarity, keep abreast of changes and (provided that they have the necessary resources at their disposal) undertake research into practical needs.
The medical inspectorate
The medical inspectorate plays an important role in providing agricultural health education in undertakings. It should therefore also co-operate with the universities in the provision of training in occupational health and hygiene. On the practical side, the inspectorate can arrange visits and participate actively in investigations and research projects.
Rural practitioners' experience of specific everyday problems enables them to make a positive contribution to training. They can also participate in education and research through the work of their learned societies and in collaboration with the inspectorate and the universities.
Effective collaboration between the various persons and establishments concerned with training in occupational health and hygiene can most often best be achieved within the framework of institutes. Depending on needs and resources, these institutes may be national or regional in scope.
The institutes discussed here may specialise in agricultural medicine or form part of a health institute or an occupational medical institute.
Their personnel should include not only teachers, medical inspectors and practitioners but also all who can contribute to the declared educational and research goals. Some of the staff would be directly concerned with agricultural medicine (veterinary surgeons, toxicologists, bacteriologists and virologists, physiologists, agricultural engineers), while others, indirectly concerned, would make useful contributions of a statistical, psychological or sociological character.
The function of these institutes would be to harmonise education and research. Their three fields of action would be education, research and evaluation.
The importance of evaluation cannot be over-emphasised. It is poor practice to undertake research without knowing whether earlier work has been undertaken on the same subject and, if so, what its results were.
Such an institute, serving simultaneously as a centre of agricultural medicine, a documentation centre and a statistical office for the rational processing of information, should be supplemented by a centre for conditions of employment, which would be concerned with job analysis, rationalisation, ergonomics, and so forth. There should also be a centre for occupational pathology, which would study toxicology, epidemiology and various advanced medical and technical subjects as the need arose, and a centre for psycho-sociology.
The need for collaboration between the different disciplines must be especially stressed.