L. Sisenis, D. Brizga, I. Pilvere, J. Gailis, S. Senhofa
Wednesday 19 December 2018 by Libadmin2018


In Latvia, according to Central Statistical Bureau data (2018), the agricultural industry employed 76.4 thou. employees in the main job as well as 49.4 thou. seasonal workers. For this reason, this industry plays an essential role in the national economy, and with the industry developing, labour-saving technologies are increasingly introduced to reduce manual work in agriculture. Besides, mineral fertilisers and plant protection products are intensively applied (organic farms are an exception) in order to increase crop yields and reduce the negative impacts of pests and harmful microorganisms. Furthermore, the spread of pests and pathogens from south to north is expected in the context of climate change, which could increase the application of plant protection products (PPPs) in the future. The fact that the application of PPPs and fertilisers affects not only crops but, first of all, agricultural employees who deal with them daily, as well as final consumers of agricultural products could not be ignored. Not complying with labour protection requirements and working with mineral fertilisers and plant protection products affect the health of employees, which could be observed in a short- and a long-term. For this reason, the present research is relevant, aiming to identify the risk factors related to the storage and application of plant protection chemicals on farms in the central part of Latvia and make proposals to reduce the risks. Employing the methods of questionnaire surveying and assessment, the research assessed chemical risk factors of working with fertilisers and PPPs for farms in the central part of Latvia. The research results revealed that the farms partly violated the requirements set in the legal framework, which indicated a formal attitude on the part of both employers and employees. The research identified noncompliance with the labour and environmental protection requirements and consequently threats to human health and the environment. The research developed proposals for reducing the labour and environmental risks.

Keywords: plant protection products, occupational safety, plant protection, environmental protection.

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