The occupational safety on the construction sites of the farm production buildings in Finland

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M. Hellstedt *
K.O. Kaustell
T. Kivinen
(*) Corresponding Author:
M. Hellstedt | maarit.hellstedt@mtt.fi

Abstract

The size of farms has increased considerably during Finland's EU membership. The growth has meant big investments in the new production buildings. The buildings have been switched to big industrialhall- like constructions from small-scale ones which have contained own timber and own work contribution. The objective of the project financed by Farmers' Social Insurance Institution was to improve occupational safety on farm building construction and renovation sites by disseminating current safety practices and by developing ways of action which are better than the prevailing ones. The project consisted of a literature review, statistical analysis, as well as a farmer and designer interviews. In the statistical analysis the MATA occupational injuries insurance claims database on farmers’ claims during construction and renovation work for the years 2005 - 2008 was compared with the register of Federation of Accident Insurance Institutions on the construction workers' injuries. In comparing the reasons of the accidents a clear difference was found; poor scaffoldings and ladders are still the main culprits on farm accidents. Farmer interviews were used to assess occupational safety measures on the construction site, occurred injuries and their types, nearmiss situations and the underlying factors which have led to the injuries. Also construction safety deficiencies as well as the direct and indirect costs caused for instance because of the delay in completion of construction project were discussed. Designer interviews aimed to find out how occupational safety and health considerations are taken into account in farm building planning and counseling, and how this experience of the designers should be utilized in order to improve safety at the construction sites on farms. Farmers knew their obligations on occupational safety poorly. The situation was further worsened by the fact that on the site the supervisor tasks were only nominally executed. The designers knew the occupational health and safety legislation better but this did not help the situation on the sites because designers are not generally involved in the actual implementation of the construction project.

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