As per ILO estimates, at least 60,000 construction workers and 170,000 agricultural workers die each year. This means that workers in agriculture run twice the risk of dying on the job compared with workers in other sectors. Furthermore, widespread under-reporting of deaths, injuries and occupational diseases in the agricultural sector means that the real picture of the occupational health and safety of farm workers is likely to be worse than official statistics indicate.
The agricultural sector employs an estimated 1.3 billion workers worldwide, that is half of the world’s labour force. In terms of fatalities, injuries and work-related ill-health, it is one of the three most hazardous sectors of activity (along with construction and mining).
Much agricultural work is physically demanding and the risk of accidents is increased by fatigue, poor design tools, difficult terrain, exposure to extreme weather conditions, and working and living in remote and rural communities.
Workers are usually most vulnerable in family subsistence agriculture, where there is little or no protection by law. They may be found in plantations as daily-paid labourers; seasonal or migrant workers who do not own land; and child labourers. Effective enforcement may be poor due to insufficient labour inspection and a lack of understanding and training of hazards and their prevention on the part of employers and workers.
Farmers and construction workers also suffer the most from climate change and related heat stress.
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