A-3/19 Agriculture into the Future: New Technology, New Organisation and New Occupational Health and Safety Risks?

Agriculture is a hazardous industry, with a high frequency of injuries. As working life has changed over the last decades, so has also agriculture. In Norway, farm size has increased, and agriculture has become technology intensive with a high amount of automated milking systems (AMS) and is now more dependent on hired help. The aim of the study is by sociotechnical system theory to explore how a new generation of farmers describe their work organisation in relation to occupational health and safety. The study is an explorative interview study at five farms having implemented AMS. An open interview guide was used. The interviews were recorded and thereafter transcribed. Analyses were based on the balance-theory with the domains technology, organisation, physical environment, task design, and individual characteristics. The results show that AMS changes the farm as a sociotechnical work system. AMS is considered a relief with regards how tasks become less physically demanding, less time consuming, and with less animal contact. On the other hand, cognitive demands increase. The results indicate that the technology increases both complexity and vulnerability, these factors being less considered by the farmers. The findings underline the importance of farmers’ increasing awareness of their role as a manager and for an increased system perspective. Proceedings of the 20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA 2018). IEA 2018. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 825.

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