Accident Prevention in Reindeer Herding Work
Keywords:Public education campaigns, Reindeer husbandry, Safety, Accidents, Finland
This study deals with the safety of reindeer herding work. The possibility of developing preventive measures and influencing the reindeer herder's behaviour by providing information were investigated. Since reindeer herders in Finland work as private entrepreneurs (like farmers), safety measures for them are voluntary; hence a great success rate was not expected. The study population consisted of male herders age 16-64 years (N=3324). The reindeer herding districts (N=53) were divided randomly on a geographical basis into three groups: one group received information about accident prevention in eight "theme" letters, another received it from occupational health personnel during medical examinations, while the third received general information from the press. Data on accidents that had occurred were collected in two questionnaires before and after distributing the information. As a result, a total of 34 preventive measures were successfully developed for reindeer herding work. The follow-up questionnaire showed that the herders had implemented an average of 5.8 measures/respondent. The accident rate decreased in two years from 20 to 15 accidents/1000 working days. However, there was no statistical difference between the groups that received information from different sources. In conclusion it can be stated that it is possible to develop preventive measures and to influence the safety behaviour in the reindeer herders' work by disseminating information. The press and journals would be most effective in the dissemination in an occupation like this.
Key words: occupational accidents, safety, reindeer herding work, preventive measures, personal protective equipment