John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé


Producing quality food while protecting health: how preventers help change habits Volume 19, issue 2, March-April 2020

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Today's farmers must produce quality food while maintaining their health and safety. For this they must change their practices and depend less, or not at all, on chemical inputs.

Labor regulations require that employers ensure the health and safety of their employees by applying nine general principles of prevention.

Why not take inspiration from these principles to support farmers in these practices? In this case, prevention can be organized at the three standard levels.

Primary prevention aims to avoid risks, to evaluate those that cannot be avoided, to combat risks at their source, and to adapt the work to the workers. The elimination or reduction of treatments is already an application of these principles.

Secondary prevention is based on the evolution of techniques, substituting dangerous products by safe or low-hazard products, and prevention planning. At this level, if treatment are used, risk must be managed by the right techniques and good work organization.

Tertiary prevention, finally, complements these principles by introducing collective protection before individual protection and then training and informing the appliers.

To help farmers change their practices, consultants and prevention specialists will have to adapt their advice. By applying these general principles of prevention and implementing action plans such as Ecophyto, for example, they have already applied the first principle: avoiding chemical risk.