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Accidents and Safety in Agriculture with special

reference to Women
Abhay Kumar Mehta
Professor and Head
Department of Farm Machinery and Power Engineering
College of Technology and Engineering, Udaipur
Introduction
The increasing demand of food grain and oil seed are being met out by increased production not
only by virtue of use of HYV, fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides and irrigation facility but Mechanization
also played an important role in it. The increased mechanization has resulted in agricultural accident
because of improper use and unawareness about the machine/tools. Use of agricultural tools and
implements and other machines is always risky to human safety, if they are not used properly. Accidents
are very common in various agricultural operations due to ignorance, lack of training, lack of knowledge
about the operation and improper design of tools and implements. Human ignorance and negligence in
various tasks and operations look like innocent mistakes. Surprisingly, there are indications that people
accept accidents as fate and uncontrollable and thus not compelled to eliminate them systematically.
However, practically all the accidents at least their chances and severity can be controlled or minimized
by adequate consideration and strategic applications of human factors. The data base on accidents would
help in having a clear picture of the situation in the state and decide the priorities, and the work plan for
preventing/minimizing these accidents.
Continuous monitoring and analysis of accident data would help in assessing the impact of
various preventive measures.
So far the accidental data in Rajasthan has not been documented and compiled. These
accidental data will be useful in deciding the area of attention for preventing these accidents. After getting
the reasons of accidents, the researchers/scientists may give the due consideration of the impacts in
design/development of agricultural machinery. These accidental data are also useful for government
policy decision to modify the safety law to reduce the accidents and save the human life.
Recommendation can be made by researcher to use particular system or sign, colour to reduce the
accidents. If any accidents are made due to drudgery proper modification in agricultural machinery may
also be suggested.
Agricultural Accident Scenario
The total number of hand tools, agricultural implements/ equipments and agriculture workers
available in the selected 280 villages of the seven districts are furnished Table 1. The total number of
agricultural accident reported and the total number of accident victims in selected 280 villages of seven
district during the year 2005-06 (From July 2005 to June 2006) is furnished in Table 2
Table 1: Hand tools, agricultural equipment and labours in selected villages of Rajasthan
S.No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7

District
Jalore
Jhalawar
Udaipur
Sri Ganganagar
Dausa
Alwar
Bikaner

Hand tools
76608
32801
42650
16203
70398
54617
36644

Agricultural
Workers
32255
6762
16024
6118
21391
16079
22942

Agricultural
machinery
11900
7699
7182
5075
22240
10882
5190

TOTAL

329921

92571

70168

The total number of accidents in the selected villages was 453 and the total number of accident
victims was 453.
Table: 2 Total numbers of accidents in selected 280 villages of Rajasthan
S. No.

District

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Total

Jalore
Jhalawar
Udaipur
Sri Ganganagar
Dausa
Alwar
Bikaner

No. of accidents
8
3
86
5
117
188
46
453

No. of accident
victims
8
3
86
5
117
188
46
453

Jalore
2%
Jhalawar
1%
Udaipur
19%

Bikaner
10%

Sri
ganaganagar
1%
Alwar
41%

Dausa
26%

Fig. 2 Agricultural accidents reported in selected districts


Nature of Agriculture Accidents:
A. Total number of accidents reported in 280 villages of selected seven districts
The total number of agricultural accidents reported in 280 villages of selected seven districts is
furnished in Fig. 2
Table 3: Agricultural accidents reported in selected 280 villages of Rajasthan
S.No.

District

Population engaged
in agricultural and
allied activities

No. of
accidents

Accident incident
rate/ 1000 workers

Jalore

32255

0.25

Jhalawar

6762

0.44

Udaipur

16024

86

5.37

Sri Ganganagar

6118

0.82

Dausa

21391

117

5.47

Alwar

16079

188

11.69

Bikaner

22942

46

2.00

121571

453

3.73

Total

Highest number of agricultural accidents was reported in Alwar district followed by Dausa,
Udaipur, Bikaner, Jalore, Sriganganagar and Jhalawar. Highest incidence rate per 1000 workers was
reported in Alwar (11.69), followed by Dausa (5.47), Udaipur (5.37), Bikaner (2.00), Sriganganagar (0.82),
Jhalawar (0.44) and Jalore (0.25). The overall accident incidence rate per 1000 workers in the entire
selected districts was 3.73.
ii) Farm Machinery Related Accidents:
The total number of farm machinery related accidents reported in selected district is furnished in
Table 4. And depicted in Fig. 3. Highest number of accidents prone agriculture machines was in the
district of Dausa followed by Jalore, Alwar, Jhalawar, Udaipur, Bikaner and Sriganganagar. Based on the
number of accident prone agricultural machines, the accident incidence rate per 1000 machines was
calculated. The highest incidence rate was reported in Udaipur followed by Alwar, Dausa, Bikaner,
Sriganganagar, Jhalawar and Jalore. The overall accident incidence rate per 1000 worker was 2.36.
Table: 4 Farm machinery accidents reported in selected 280 villages of Rajasthan
S.No.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Total

District

Jalore
Jhalawar
Udaipur
Sri Ganganagar
Dausa
Alwar
Bikaner

Accident prone
agricultural machinery
population in selected
district
11900
7699
7182
5075
22240
10882
5190
70168

No. of
accidents
from
machines
4
3
41
5
65
38
10
166

Accident
incident rate/
1000 workers
0.34
0.39
5.71
0.98
2.92
3.49
1.92
2.36

Fig 3 Tractor accidents due to overloading


iii) Hand Tools Related Accidents
The accident due to agricultural hand tools reported in selected district is furnished in Table 5 and
depicted in Fig. 4.
There were 52 accidents due to agricultural hand tools and the overall accident incidence rate
was 0.16 per 1000 hand tools. Out of these accidents highest accidents were reported in Dausa followed
by Udaipur, Alwar and Bikaner. There is no accident due to hand tools in Jalore, Jhalawar and
Sriganganagar. The accident incidence rate per 1000 hand tools was highest in Udaipur followed by
Dausa, Alwar and Bikaner.

Jalore
2%

Alwar
23%

Bikaner
6%

Jhalawar
2%
Udaipur
25%

Sri Ganganagar
3%
Dausa
39%
Fig. 4 Percent Farm Machinery Accidents in Selected Districts

Table 5 Hand tools related accidents reported in the selected districts of Rajasthan
S. No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Total

District
Jalore
Jhalawar
Udaipur
Sri Ganganagar
Dausa
Alwar
Bikaner

Number of hand tools


in the selected
district
76608
32801
42650
16203
70398
54617
36644
329921

Hand tools
related
accidents
0
0
15
0
24
8
5
52

Accident
incident rate/
1000 workers
0.00
0.00
0.35
0.00
0.34
0.15
0.14
0.16

Bikaner
14%

Jhalawar
0%
Jalore
0%
Udaipur
36%

Alwar
15%

Sri Ganganagar
0%

Dausa
35%

Fig. 5 Hand Tools Related Accident Incidence Rate per 1000 tools
(%)
iv) Other Accidents:
Other accidents due to snake bite, well drowning, electric shock etc. reported in different villages
is furnished in Table 6
Table 6: Other accidents (snakes, wells etc.) reported in selected villages of Rajasthan
S. No.

District

Population engaged in
agricultural and allied
activities

Other
accidents

Accident
incident rate/
1000 workers

1
2

Jalore
Jhalawar

32255
6762

4
0

0.12
0.00

3
4
5

Udaipur
Sriganganagar
Dausa

16024
6118
21391

30
0
28

1.87
0.00
1.31

6
7
Total

Alwar
Bikaner

16079
22942
121571

142
31
235

8.83
1.35
1.93

Fig 6 Farmer lost his eye during spraying operation


In all 235 accidents under this category was reported by the farmers. Higher number of
such accidents was reported in Alwar followed by Bikaner, Dausa, Udaipur and Jalore. The
accident Incidence rate of 1000 workers was highest in Alwar followed by Udaipur, Bikaner, and
Dausa. The overall accidents incidence rate was found is 1.93 per 1000 workers.

Fig 7 Well without the boundary and cover inviting accidents

Bikaner
13%

Jalore
2%

Jhalawar
0%

Udaipur
13%
Sri Ganganagar
0%

Dausa
12%

Alwar
60%

Fig. 8 Other accidents incidence rate per 1000 worker


Occupational Status wise Classification of agricultural accidents victims:
The classification of accident victims according to their occupational status is presented
in Table 7
Table 7 Occupational status wise distribution of accident victims
Status

Farmer

Family
member

Labourer

total

Jalore

Jhalawar

Udaipur

50

16

20

86

Sriganganagar

Dausa

62

38

17

117

Alwar

60

54

74

188

Bikaner

28

10

46

Total

213

118

122

453

Majority of accident victims were farmers (47%) followed by agricultural labour (26.93) and family
member (26.07%)
Age wise classification of accident victims:
The age wise classification of accident victims in the selected villages presented in Table 8.

Table 8 Age wise classification of victims


Age ( year)

<15

16 29

30 -45

>45

Total

Jalore

Jhalawar

Udaipur

24

43

15

86

Sri Ganganagar
Dausa

0
24

2
30

3
44

0
19

5
117

Alwar

19

55

76

38

188

20

10

46

54

123

191

85

453

11.92

27.15

42.17

18.76

100

Bikaner
Total
Percent of victims

Source wise classification of agricultural accidents


Source wise classification of agricultural accidents
In selected villages of different districts is furnished in Table 9.it is interesting to notr that more than 50 per
cent accidents are not due to use of agricultural machinery and the main reason for these accidents are
unawareness of farm workers, climatic condition, and absence of implement training.
Tractor was mainly responsible for the machinery accidents followed by chaff cutter and
threshers. Out of the seventy tractor accidents more than half of the accidents were reported during
transportation, therefore the on road accidents of tractor are of major concern.
Recommendations
The agricultural accident are avoidable if not, the severity can be decreased by some interventions and
education. Below are the few suggestions which can not only minimize the chances of occurring
accidents during agricultural works but can avoid them if dealt seriously.
Engineering Aspects
Provision of rollover protective structure (ROPS) on tractors can help to reduce the deaths
caused in tractor accidents due to crushing of operator in overturning accidents. Researchers have found
that provision of switches and safety devices which will shut off the tractor at predetermined angle of tilt
by which risk of overturn may reduce. A rollover accident occurs in fraction of second, 1.5 second to be
precise, that operator gets a little time to respond. Providing ROPS will enhance the safety with respect to
rollover accidents though at a mere increase in cost of the tractor.

Each tractor-trailer should have slow moving vehicle (SMV) emblem, turning indicators and rear
lights to avoid field and road accidents. A mass publicity and education in these aspects will be required to
make the farmers adopt the safety measures. A strong Govt. enforcement enhances the popularity of
such measures. The new tractors produced in the country are coming with the SMV emblems but are
absent in trailers. Tractor trailer overturning is also a serious issue and can be addressed by providing the
tilting indicators to warn the tractor driver. Other safety gadgets also will be better popularized only with
such enforcements.
Design modifications are needed for easy and safe hitching in tractors and farm implements. The
chaff cutters should have built-in safe feeding devices. The rotating parts of various prime movers and
farm equipment should have proper guards. Such accidents contribute to a major share in accidents.
Suitable personnel protective equipment like hand gloves, aprons, goggles, face-mask etc. needs to be
popularized among the farmers for their use especially during dusting and spraying operation. The
installation of electric motors and pump-sets need to be done in proper manner so as to avoid
electrocution accidents.
Educational Aspects
Periodical training and courses should be organized at different levels for proper and safe
operation of tractors and their implements, sprayers, and dusters. This type of program should be
incorporated as an integral part of the farming system. Govt. Departments and NGOs should come
forward for such programmes at farmers site. Such activities should emphasis construction of the wells
and ponds in proper manner so as to reduce the accidents caused due to fall in wells and ponds.
Extension leaflets/publicity materials for proper and safe use of various machines need to be prepared
and circulated on a wider scale.
Individual Safety
Specific equipment like goggle, hand gloves, gum boots etc. for protection against possibility of
eyes being struck by hard small objects, cut by hand tool, and snake bites should be used. Rubber boots
may be preferred to protect the lower leg against continuous wetting or chemicals and pesticides. Head
should be covered and frequent intake of water should be promoted during field operations under open
sun. Person should be immediately fetched to nearby health centre in case of snake bite, heat stroke or
any other serious health ailment.