The benefits of a farm safety program
David E. Bayer, Cooperative Extension
California Agriculture 38(1):26-27.
David L. Bayer is Farm Advisor in Personnel Management, Cooperative Extension, Sacramento County.
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Work-related injuries impose substantial costs on employers as well as employees. This is as true of agriculture as of other industries. Moreover, because crops may perish if accidents delay harvest, and expensive machinery must be handled by experienced workers. farmers cannot afford to lose key people. There is ample proof from other industries that effective safety programs can reduce injuries and save companies money. The DuPont Company, for example, saved $26 million on workers' compensation, or the equivalent of 3.6 percent of its net profits, because management made safety the first item on its agenda (Jeremy Main, “When Accidents Don't Happen,” Fortune, September 6, 1982). However, until now, the literature has provided few examples of such success in agriculture.
This study is part of a research project on the effects of training on employee motivation. Special thanks are given to the cooperating growers, as well as to Howard Rosenberg, Gary Johnston, Robert Brazelton, and Theodore Torngren, UC Cooperative Extension, and to Julien Phillips of McKinsey Corporation for their suggestions.