The frequent mounting and dismounting the tractor required by many farming operations increases the risk of falls, particularly for older farmers. The present study explored the risk factors related to tractor ingress and egress in older farmers from two countries with a different tradition in terms of safety culture: Sweden and Italy. Eighteen male farmers aged 65 + (8 from Skåne region, southern Sweden, and 10 from Piedmont region, northwestern Italy) were observed while mounting and dismounting their most used tractor, to investigate the routine behaviors adopted and to identify possible sources of risk of fall. The presence of three critical behaviors was recorded: the maintenance of three-point contact with the machine when entering and exiting the cab; facing the cab and the use of the last step when exiting. Farmers were also interviewed about their health status, attitudes toward safety, and perceived risks while performing the task. The results showed that similar unsafe behaviors were adopted by most of both Swedish and Italian participants; in particular, none of the farmers got off the tractor by facing the cab. Older farmers from both countries referred to age and previous experience as the major protective factors against falls, without acknowledging that new risks can rise from the age-related changes in their motor skills. The results raised some considerations about the need to develop targeted elderly-centered solutions to support the correct mounting/dismounting behaviors, both in the design of the machines and in information campaigns and training courses, which may have a cross-cultural validity.
- Agricultural machinery
- Slips and falls