Developing a national framework for OSH in agriculture

Author:International Labour Organization
Meetings-MESHA-Final Code-2010-10-0355-1-En.doc/v2 7
3. Developing a national framework for
OSH in agriculture
3.1. National policy, systems and
programmes for OSH
3.1.1. Convention No. 187 and its accompanying Recommendation No. 197
promote the development of national policies, national systems and national programmes
for OSH covering all economic sectors, including agriculture. The overall aim of such
measures should be to promote a preventive OSH culture and to promote the effective
management of OSH nationally and at the enterprise level.
3.1.2. With specific regard to agriculture, governments should adopt comprehensive
OSH legislation that affords protection for all workers in the sector, irrespective of their
gender and employment status, in accordance with the Safety and Health in Agriculture
Convention, 2001 (No. 184). Labour inspectors should also have sufficient legal status and
powers, as well as resources and training, to be able to enforce the legislation adequately in
the sector.
3.1.3. National systems for OSH in agriculture should thus comprise organizations
and mechanisms aimed at promoting OSH in agriculture, including:
(a) authorities or bodies responsible for OSH and for ensuring compliance with national
laws and regulations, including systems of inspection;
(b) information about hazards and risks in agriculture and how these may be addressed,
and related advisory services;
(c) occupational safety and health training for employers and workers;
(d) occupational health services, available in rural areas as well as urban ones;
(e) mechanisms for the collection and analysis of data on occupational injuries and
(f) provisions for collaboration with relevant insurance or social security schemes
covering occupational injuries and diseases; and
(g) support mechanisms for a progressive improvement of OSH in very small agricultural
enterprises, such as subsistence farms, and in the informal economy.
3.1.4. National OSH programmes for agriculture should be developed in accordance
with Convention No. 187. These may be targeted specifically at the agricultural sector or
may cover a wider range of sectors or topics. National programmes covering agriculture
should, in particular:
(a) promote the development of a national preventive OSH culture for the sector;
(b) contribute to the protection of workers by eliminating or minimizing, so far as is
reasonably practicable, work-related hazards and risks, in accordance with national
law and practice, in order to prevent occupational injuries, diseases and deaths and
promote OSH in the workplace;
(c) include objectives, targets and indicators of progress; and
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(d) be supported, where possible, by other complementary national programmes and
plans which will assist in achieving progressively a safe and healthy working
3.1.5. For national OSH systems and programmes to be effective, it is vital that
competent authorities, employers, workers and their representatives and other partners
work together and cooperate in a constructive manner. Such cooperation in the area of
agriculture will also help to ensure that the objectives of this code of practice will be
achieved in practice.
3.2. Competent authority
3.2.1. In the light of the foregoing paragraphs in consultation with employers’ and
workers’ representatives, the competent authority should:
(a) formulate, implement and periodically review a national policy, national system and
national programme for OSH in agriculture;
(b) promote continuous improvement of OSH in agriculture to prevent occupational
accidents, diseases and dangerous occurrences; and
(c) consider making new, or updating existing, statutory provisions for eliminating or
controlling hazards in agriculture.
3.2.2. The competent authority should ensure that relevant legislation protects
agricultural workers as effectively as workers in other sectors.
3.2.3. The competent authority should ensure that all agricultural workers,
irrespective of their employment status, benefit from the same level of OSH protection and
are subject to the same requirements for prevention. The competent authority should
provide guidance to employers and workers organizations on ensuring equal protection
for vulnerable workers, such as temporary, casual and migrant workers, women workers,
young workers, contractors and workers provided by labour supply agents especially
women workers and young workers in these groups.
3.2.4. Statutory provisions should include regulations, approved codes of practice,
exposure limits and procedures for consultation and dissemination of information.
3.2.5. The competent authority should:
(i) establish systems and criteria for classifying substances used and produced in
agriculture that may be hazardous to health, in accordance with national and
international standards;
(ii) establish requirements for marking and labelling substances provided for use in
agriculture, taking into account the need to harmonize such systems internationally;
(iii) establish criteria for determining information provided in chemical safety data sheets;
(iv) establish systems and criteria for identifying safety and health hazards and
appropriate risk control measures relating to machinery, equipment, processes and
operations used in agricultural production;
(v) establish safety standards with regard to the design, manufacture and use of tractors
and other machinery used in agriculture, based on sound scientific criteria and
accepted international practice (see also 8.1.3.); and

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