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Farmers' work ability test wins honorary award in international competition

The Farmer's Work Ability Scale, developed by the Farmers’ Social Insurance Institution Mela, was awarded an honorary award in an international Good Practice Award competition. The competition was organised by the International Social Security Association (ISSA), which brings together some 320 social security institutions from 160 countries. The aim of the competition was to showcase good and innovative practices in the field of social security. The Farmer´s Work Ability Scale aims at preventing work ability risks of farmers.

The Good Practice Award winning practices were presented at the ISSA Regional Social Security Forum for Europe conference in Portugal on 17 April 2024. A total of 190 entries from 26 countries and 40 social security institutions took part in the competition.

The uniqueness of the Farmers’ Work Ability Scale lies in its extensive comparative data

Agricultural work exposes you to both mental and physical risks: it is accident-prone, heavy and mentally demanding. In Finland, farmers retire on disability pension more frequently that other professional groups and there are also more accidents than in other professions. The Farmer’s Work Ability Scale is a new kind of management tool that allows farmers to detect and anticipate risks to their work ability in good time.

The Farmer’s Work Ability Scale uses ten questions to assess perceived work ability, well-being at work and safety at work. Based on the responses, personalised feedback is generated, and the farmer is directed to appropriate services, such as the Support the Farmer project or well-being at work training. What makes the service unique is that respondents can compare their own results with those of other farmer by age, gender, and type of production. The reference material includes thousands of responses and is updated in real time. Entrepreneurs aged 45-64 are the most likely to have responded to the Work Ability Scale survey. Of the production sectors, dairy farmers, cereal farmers, and beef producers are the most represented.

Responses show the development of work ability

We launched the Farmer´s Work Ability Scale in the summer of 2022 and the response was very positive. In about a year and a half, the Farmer’s Work Ability Scale has already been answered 3 631 times. The anonymous data collected from the responses will provide valuable information on the factors affecting farmers’ ability to work.

In the autumn, MELA will pilot a new training based on the Farmer’s Work Ability Scale. The training will go deeper into the factors affecting work ability and assess the stress and resource factors of one’s own work. The Farmer’s Work Ability Scale and the ABC of Work Ability training developed around it have been implemented as part of Mela’s Support the Farmer project.

Learn more about the Farmer’s Work Ability Scale (in Finnish): Farmer’s Work Ability Scale
Watch the Farmer’s Work Ability Scale demonstration video on YouTube (in Finnish)

For more information:
Päivi Wallin, Director of Insurance, Locum and Work Ability Services, Telephone 029 435 2343
Pirjo Saari, Head of Department for Work Ability Services, Telephone 029 4352460

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