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Abstract

Occupational health service programmes aim to reduce injury and illness risks. Yet, recent studies indicate that members of the voluntary Farmers’ Occupational Health Service programme (FOHS) in Finland have filed more occupational injury and disease claims than non-members. To investigate this unexpected finding further, we conducted a safety risk management survey among farmers (n=591). We used multivariable regression to evaluate the differences in injury incident reporting between FOHS members and non-members while controlling for demographic, risk perception, and management practice variables. We found that FOHS members were significantly younger, had larger farms, and had more livestock than non-members. Similar to recent studies, FOHS members reported 1.5 times more injury incidents compared to non-members. However, when controlling for farm size, dependence on one person, physical strain at work, and injuries to family members, there was no significant difference in injury incidence between FOHS members and non-members. In some models, FOHS had a protective but non-significant effect. While no consistent protective effect was found on injuries, FOHS members reported greater awareness of risks and greater effort in controlling risks. Regular self-monitoring of safety had a protective effect on injury incidents. A crucial challenge in FOHS and similar risk management programmes is how to ensure farmers and managers commit to the practical implementation of the programme.

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