Journal of Agromedicine vol:16 issue:4 pages:299-310
ABSTRACT Preventive interventions to reduce occupational injuries and diseases among farmers require an appraisal of the relative importance of the various risk factors. This paper describes the results of a cross-sectional study investigating determinants of occupational health and injuries among 510 Belgian farmers, looking at health-related behaviors (machinery use, animal handling, fall prevention, and pesticide use), as well as nonbehavioral risk factors (demographic characteristics, farm characteristics, and participation in safety training). Education level and number of employees on the farm were identified as nonbehavioral risk factors for injuries, with highly educated farmers and working with one employee associated with a higher injury risk. In contrast, none of the nonbehavioral factors were related to occupational disease. Unsafe machinery use, animal handling, fall prevention, and pesticide use were behavioral risk factors for injuries, with unsafe pesticide use representing the highest risk. Unsafe machinery and pesticide use were also risks for disease. Significant differences in self-reported behavior were found for gender, age, number of employees, and the interaction between age and education. The study highlights the importance of behavioral factors as determinants of occupational injuries and diseases among farmers, and suggests that tailored preventive interventions should be developed to accommodate for differences in these behaviors among subgroups of farmers.