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
close this folder1. Living conditions and environmental hygiene
View the document1.1. Introduction
close this folder1.2. Housing
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1.2.1. Construction
View the document1.2.2. Physiological principles
View the document1.2.3. Insect pests
View the document1.2.4. Rodents
close this folder1.3. Farm buildings
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1.3.1. Grain stores
View the document1.3.2. Farm incinerators
View the document1.3.3. Buildings for livestock
View the document1.3.4. Piggeries
View the document1.3.5. Poultry sheds
close this folder1.4. Water supply
View the document1.4.1. Importance
View the document1.4.2. Sources
View the document1.4.3. Treatment
View the document1.4.4. Distribution
close this folder1.5. Manure and sewage
View the document1.5.1. Importance
View the document1.5.2. The latrine
View the document1.5.3. Disposal of solid wastes: composting
close this folder1.6. Environmental health
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1.6.1. Man-made problems
View the document1.6.2. Plants
close this folder1.6.3. Animal life
View the documentInsects
View the documentWorms
View the documentRodents
View the documentDead animals
close this folder1.7. Food sanitation
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1.7.1. Sources of infection
View the document1.7.2. The dairy farm
View the document1.7.3. Milk sanitation
close this folder1.8. Other problems of agricultural life
View the document1.8.1. some special problems
View the document1.8.2. Health legislation
View the document1.8.3. Examples of effective health education through community participation
View the document1.8.4. Health services
close this folder2. Problems of occupational physiology and ergonomics
close this folder2.1. General principles of occupational physiology
View the document(introduction...)
View the document2.1.1. Muscular work
View the document2.1.2. Circulation of the blood and respiration during work
View the document2.1.3. Basal metabolism
View the document2.1.4. Static work
View the document2.1.5. Thermal regulation
View the document2.1.6. Co-ordination of physiological functions
View the document2.1.7. Adaptation to environment
close this folder2.1.8. Working capacity
View the documentState of health and working capacity
View the documentDiet and work
View the documentTraining
View the documentAge and aptitude for work
View the documentCurve of physiological work and biological rhythm
View the document2.1.9. Fatigue
close this folder2.1.10. Measurement of physical work
View the documentOxygen consumption
View the documentHeart rate
close this folder2.2. Principles of ergonomics in agriculture
View the document2.2.1. Definition and purpose
close this folder2.2.2. Arrangement of the workplace
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPosture of the body
View the documentTempo of work and body size
View the documentAlternation of heavy and light work
View the documentPrecision work and visual effort
View the documentWork done while walking
View the documentAdaptation of tools to man
View the documentAdaptation of machines to physiological capacities
View the documentArrangement of seats
close this folder2.2.3. Conditions of mechanised work1
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPhysiological aspects of mechanised work
View the documentVibration
View the documentNoise
View the documentDust
View the documentExhaust gases
View the documentLighting
close this folder2.2.4. Vocational training and health protection
View the documentWork and productivity in agriculture
View the documentApprenticeship methods
View the documentSystematic apprenticeship and health protection
close this folder3. Prevention and management of occupational pesticide poisonings
View the document3.1. Introduction and statement of the problem
close this folder3.2. General precautions for the prevention of pesticide poisonings
View the document3.2.1. Storage of pesticide containers
View the document3.2.2. Sanitation in space used for formulation, packaging and loading of application equipment
View the document3.2.3. Worker education
View the document3.2.4. Disposal of used containers
View the document3.2.5. Re-entry of pesticide-treated fields
View the document3.2.6. Cleaning and repair of equipment
close this folder3.3. Specific strategies to minimise worker injury by pesticides
View the document3.3.1. Sanitary standards and protective gear
View the document3.3.2. Medical surveillance
View the document3.3.3. Management of poisonings
View the document3.4. Physiology of pesticide absorption and action in man: general measures for management of poisonings
close this folder3.5. Toxic properties of specific classes of pesticide, and special precautions to avoid poisoning
View the document3.5.1. The large molecular organochlorine insecticides
View the document3.5.2. The cholinesterase-inhibiting organophosphate pesticides
View the document3.5.3. The cholinesterase-inhibiting carbamate insecticides
View the document3.5.4. The nitrophenolic herbicides
View the document3.5.5. Pentachlorophenol
View the document3.5.6. Chlorophenoxy compounds
View the document3.5.7. Dipyridyl compounds (paraquat, diquat, morfamquat
View the document3.5.8. Dimethyldithiocarbamate fungicides
View the document3.5.9. Urea-, uracil- and triazine-based herbicides
View the document3.5.10. Liquid and gas fumigants
View the document3.5.11. Arsenicals
View the document3.5.12. Acetanilide-, acetamide-, carbanilate- and anilide-based herbicides
View the document3.5.13. Anticoagulant rodenticides
close this folder3.6. Other chemical substances in agriculture
close this folder3.6.1. Mineral fertilisers
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentNitrogenous fertilisers
View the documentPhosphatic fertilisers
close this folder3.6.2. Toxic properties of the salts of phosphoric acid and of commercial products containing them
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentBasic slag
View the document3.6.3. Calcium cyanamide
View the document3.6.4. Fuels, lubricating oils and products of the incomplete combustion of fuel
close this folder3.6.5. Products of the incomplete combustion of fuel in motor engines
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentCarbon monoxide
close this folder4. Occupational diseases in agriculture
close this folder4.1. Diseases due to climate
View the document(introduction...)
close this folder4.1.1. Hot climates
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentHeat cramps
View the documentAnhydrotic exhaustion due to heat
View the documentDermatoses caused by heat
View the documentHeat exhaustion
View the documentHeat stroke
View the documentSunburn
close this folder4.1.2. Cold climates
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentGeneral disorders due to cold
View the documentLocal disorders
View the documentChilblains
View the documentFrostbite
close this folder4.2. Commonest lung diseases due to vegetable dusts
View the document4.2.1. Byssinosis
View the document4.2.2. Bagassosis
View the document4.2.3. Farmer's lung
close this folder4.3. Dermatosis due to contact with plants
View the document(introduction...)
View the document4.3.1. Irritant dermatitis of plants
View the document4.3.2. Eczematous contact dermatitis
View the document4.3.3. Phytophoto dermatitis (dermatitis bullosa striata pratensis)
View the document4.3.4. Diagnosis
View the document4.3.5. Prognosis
View the document4.3.6. Prevention
View the document4.3.7. Treatment
close this folder4.4. Pathology due to snake bites and insect, spider and scorpion stings
View the document4.4.1. Snake bites
View the document4.4.2. Insect stings
View the document4.4.3. Spider bites
View the document4.4.4. Scorpion stings
close this folder5. Diseases particularly related to agricultural work: Zoonoses, infectious and parasitic diseases
View the document5.1. Introduction
close this folder5.2. Viral and rickettsial diseases
View the document5.2.1. Classification and geographical distribution of diseases caused by Russian tick-borne complex
View the document5.2.2. Q fever
close this folder5.3. Bacterial diseases
View the document5.3.1. Anthrax
View the document5.3.2. Brucellosis
View the document5.3.3. Leptospirosis
View the document5.3.4. Tetanus
View the document5.3.5. Tuberculosis as an occupational health problem in agriculture
View the document5.3.6. Tularaemia
View the document5.3.7. Glanders
View the document5.3.8. Melioidosis
View the document5.3.9. Erysipeloid
close this folder5.4. Parasitic diseases
View the document5.4.1. Ancylostomiasis
View the document5.4.2. Schistosomiasis
View the document5.4.3. Leishmaniasis
View the document5.4.4. Contagious ecthyma (orf)
View the document5.4.5. Milkers' nodules
View the document5.4.6. Psittacosis
close this folder5.5. Other infectious diseases affecting agricultural workers
View the document(introduction...)
View the document5.5.1. Rabies
View the document5.5.2. Viral encephalomyelitis
View the document5.5.3. Yellow fever
View the document5.5.4. Dengue
View the document5.5.5. Rocky Mountain spotted fever
View the document5.5.6. Scrub typhus (tsutsugamushi fever)
View the document5.5.7. Plague
View the document5.5.8. Dermatoses
View the document5.5.9. Actinomycosis
View the document5.5.10. Echinococcosis (hydatidosis)
View the document5.5.11. Other diseases of potential occupational significance to agricultural workers
close this folder6. Organisation of occupational health services and medical inspection of labour in agriculture
View the document6.1. Introduction
close this folder6.2. Practical organisation of agricultural health services
View the document(introduction...)
View the document6.2.1. Preliminary investigation
View the document6.2.2. Implementation
View the document6.3. Medical inspection of agricultural work1
close this folder6.4. Problems of education and training in occupational health and hygiene in agriculture
View the document(introduction...)
View the document6.4.1. Education
View the document6.4.2. Training
View the document6.4.3. How to train
View the document6.4.4. Where to train
View the document6.4.5. Provision of training
close this folder6.5. Organisation of first aid
View the document(introduction...)
View the document6.5.1. First-aid training
View the document6.5.2. The treatment centre
View the document6.5.3. Poisoning prevention centres
View the documentGuide to further reading
View the documentSome other ILO publications on occupational safety and health
View the documentBack cover

6.1. Introduction

The Joint ILO/WHO Committee on Occupational Health has given the following broad definition of occupational health:

Occupational health should aim at: the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being of workers in all occupations; the prevention among workers of departures from health caused by their working conditions; the protection of workers in their employment from risks resulting from factors adverse to health; the placing and maintenance of the worker in an occupational environment adapted to his physiological and psychological equipment and, to summarise: the adaptation of work to man and of each man to his job.1

1 Joint ILO/WHO Committee on Occupational Health: Second report. Technical report series, No. 66 (Geneva, World Health Organization, 1953), p. 4.

There are two main reasons why it is essential to organise occupational health services in agriculture: first, a large proportion (and, in many countries, the majority) of the working population consists of agricultural workers; and second, technical progress in agriculture throughout the world (development of mechanisation, increased use of chemicals, concentration of livestock) has considerably increased occupational risks.

However, the organisation of occupational health services in agriculture is influenced by a number of factors peculiar to the rural environment and to the particular nature of agricultural work:

(1) Unlike industrial workers, agricultural workers are usually dispersed in remote rural areas where public services generally may be insufficient. However, although this dispersal is characteristic of agriculture, its importance should not be exaggerated. Concentrations do exist in agriculture, the most striking examples being the large plantations of cotton, tea, fruit trees, and so on. Moreover, although the dispersal of workers makes it difficult to organise occupational health services, it is not an insurmountable obstacle, as the satisfactory situation in the building industry shows.

(2) A wide variety of jobs are performed by the agricultural worker, especially in small undertakings. Nevertheless, there is a similar variety in other industries and this has not hampered the organisation of occupational health services.

(3) For the most part, the work is done in the open air and consequently the worker is exposed to all weathers.

(4) In all countries, the agricultural environment suffers from a certain technical backwardness as compared with the industrial environment. Tradition in agriculture often hampers the application of modern techniques, of which occupational health services are only one example.

(5) Although new forms of work organisation have made considerable progress in agriculture, the fact that the performance of agricultural work is so dependent on weather conditions is a considerable obstacle to more efficient operation. Thus, while the speed of a production line in industry can be accurately planned, a sudden change in the weather-a rainstorm, for example-will compel the farmer either to work faster or to stop working altogether. Moreover, these changes in the weather can sometimes completely alter working conditions: for instance, plans for the application of pesticides in favourable conditions will be upset if a sudden wind springs up from the wrong quarter-the favourable conditions become both difficult and dangerous.

(6) The agricultural worker's private life and his working life are often interwoven. In certain kinds of undertaking it may be possible to separate the two; however, in most cases the existing situation seems likely to continue for many years to come. Furthermore, as agricultural work is carried on in the countryside, it is subject to the risks inherent in a rural environment, with the workers being dependent on the general standard of public health in such matters as the provision of an adequate water supply and protection against vermin and insects. These factors have a considerable bearing on the health problems of a particular area.

(7) Agricultural work is very often a family affair, and sometimes all the worker's family-children, women, old people-share in it to a greater or lesser extent. The absolute necessity to care for these people modifies the traditional form of occupational health services, which are generally intended for the workers alone.

These and other factors peculiar to agricultural work fully justify the organisation of agricultural health services. Their nature will, however, vary according to the country, the district, the local crops and the method of growing a particular crop. It is impossible to deal here with the needs of each special case, from the large undertaking to the small family farm, but an attempt will be made to establish the general principles which should be observed in order to improve the working and living conditions of the agricultural worker.