Topic: (Un)availability of social and labour support to farm families in case of occupational injuries and illnesses
Keywords: farmers, illness and injuries, coping strategies, social support networks, time perspective
Available records of work related injuries and occupational diseases from all over the world show that farm occupation, mostly carried out on family farms, is one of the most hazardous and risky occupations. Notwithstanding the significant contribution of occupational injuries and illnesses to mortality and disability – the vulnerability of farmers and farm workers – research that would shed light on this phenomenon is limited. Moreover, regardless of the increased public interest in agriculture and production activities of farmers, in terms of demand for quality, healthy and safe food provision the studies that would address also the quality of life and wellbeing of farm men and women and specifically their experiences and coping strategies with the consequences of occupational injuries and illnesses are almost absent. Bearing in mind yet weak research interest in this phenomenon, the proposed paper is dealing with the question on how do farm family members experience and resolve their own disability or the disability of their family members due to occupational injuries and illnesses, specifically what social and labour support (both informal and formal) is available to them when labour loss on a farm occurs due to injuries or illnesses and to what transformations in the provision of assistance/support to farmers in need the farming communities, facing with the changes in their population structure (e.g. because rural youth is leaving the farming), are exposed over time and what opportunities and impediments they encounter. The consideration of these issues relies on the results of the interviews conducted with the members of 60 farm families of both genders and across generations in autumn 2018 in Slovenia, the country with specific agricultural context dominated by small family farms, socialist legacies and radical changes occurred in the last twenty five years.