Cover Image
close this bookGuide to Health and Hygiene in Agricultural Work (ILO, 1979, 328 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPreface
View the documentAcknowledgements
Open this folder and view contents1. Living conditions and environmental hygiene
Open this folder and view contents2. Problems of occupational physiology and ergonomics
Open this folder and view contents3. Prevention and management of occupational pesticide poisonings
Open this folder and view contents4. Occupational diseases in agriculture
Open this folder and view contents5. Diseases particularly related to agricultural work: Zoonoses, infectious and parasitic diseases
Open this folder and view contents6. Organisation of occupational health services and medical inspection of labour in agriculture
View the documentGuide to further reading
View the documentSome other ILO publications on occupational safety and health
View the documentBack cover


The International Labour Organisation's concern with the safety, health and welfare of agricultural workers derives from its Constitution, which requires it to further programmes to achieve adequate protection for the life and health of workers in all occupations. Following the Second World War the International Labour Office embarked on a series of activities at the international level to improve the occupational safety and health of the numerous persons in the agricultural sector, at that time considered a neglected branch of economic activity, and in 1965 it published Safety and health in agricultural work, a code of practice on the subject. The recommendations in the code, which were expressed in the form of concise rules with a minimum of explanation and detail, were intended for the guidance of authorities, professional groups and all those with responsibilities in the promotion of occupational safety and health in agriculture, including the self-employed farmer. Agriculture was taken to mean farming, including cattle and fruit farming, but excluding forestry and the manufacture of food products in factories.

The code was followed in 1969 by a related Guide to safety in agriculture. The guide concentrated on the same aspects of safety as the code, but in more detail and with additional explanations and illustrations; it dealt only in summary fashion with matters of health and hygiene. It was mainly intended for economically advanced countries, but was also expected to be useful to those countries where agricultural mechanisation was spreading rapidly.

The present guide, on health and hygiene, completes the triad of ILO publications intended for the protection of the agricultural worker from occupational accidents and diseases. With its predecessors, it provides a wide spectrum of information on agricultural health hazards and their prevention.

It is hoped that this guide, which focuses on the problems of developing countries but deals also with issues of concern to industrialised countries, will be a useful source of reference for all persons and bodies with responsibility for health and hygiene in agricultural work, including teachers, persons in charge of agricultural undertakings, employers' and workers' organisations, farmers' co-operatives and self-employed farmers, wherever they might be.

It is realised that it is not easy to deal in one volume with all aspects of health and hygiene in all kinds of farming settings, but the Office feels that the guide will help to improve occupational health in a branch of economic activity which in many countries is still rather neglected.

The following specialists collaborated in the preparation of this guide: Dr. Mostafa A. El Batawi, World Health Organization, Geneva (Switzerland); Professor L. J. Medved, USSR; Dr. Donald P. Morgan, United States; Professor G. Preuschen, Federal Republic of Germany; Professor M. N. Rao, India; Professor Jean Vacher, France; Professor Marcus Wassermann and Dr. Dora Wassermann, Israel. Thanks are due for the observations made on the preliminary drafts by the members of the ILO Panel of Consultants on Safety and Health in Agriculture, representing government, employer and worker circles; and particular appreciation must be expressed to Professor L. W. Knapp, Jr., University of Iowa, United States, for his extremely helpful review of the final text of the guide.