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About the project


In 2019, agriculture had Denmark’s highest incidence of fatal occupational accidents, and in 2012-2016 agriculture had more reports of serious occupational accidents than the labor market in general. Nevertheless, the Norwegian Working Environment Authority’s notification records show that the agricultural sector has fewer accidents in total compared to other sectors. The National Research Center for Working Environment therefore estimates an under-registration of reportable accidents in agriculture of up to 85%. It shows a need for anthropological research that creates an in-depth understanding of how agricultural workers and managers perceive and deal with security.

Today, Danish agriculture has become internationalised to a large extent, and employees from all over the world make up approx. 35% of the workforce. Danish and international research shows that both managers and migrants in agriculture experience cooperation challenges that can affect the working environment and safety. Agricultural accidents often occur due to mishandling of large machines, chemicals and unforeseen reactions from animals, and accident prevention requires strong cooperation on safety. However, the internationalisation of agriculture gives rise to linguistic and cultural challenges in relation to safety practices and risk management, as well as to the following hypotheses:

  • Migrants have special challenges in relation to accidents in agriculture. The current safety initiatives do not address the needs of the target group for safety communication and safety practices in the workplace.
  • Employers/managers have managerial and communicative challenges in relation to migrants which can affect safety. 

Applied methods

Anthropological participant observation during 4-6 months on 8-10 different farms. Furthermore, 70-85 in-depth interviews are conducted with migrants, managers, the Norwegian Working Environment Authority, recruitment agencies and other stakeholders in the agricultural field.

The aim of the project

The purpose is to create new knowledge about safety practices and risk management in Danish agriculture across national and international employees, managers and external actors in Danish agriculture, including questions such as: 

  1. How we can reduce the number of occupational accidents among migrants in Danish agriculture by examining challenges and opportunities for creating common safety communication across the nationalities of agricultural workers. 
  2. How joint security communication can be used to optimise the handling of migrants’ specific security challenges.


The project has three sub-goals:

  1. To identify the linguistic, social, cultural and structural factors which contribute to the occurrence of accidents among migrants in Danish agriculture.
  2. To identify the importance of external actors- e.g. the Norwegian Working Environment Authority, veterinarians, social partners and recruitment agencies- for the safety of migrants in Danish agriculture. 
  3. To translate knowledge about transnational perceptions and practices of security into practical recommendations and tools that can be used to develop a common security communication across nationalities, including:
    a) to improve safety behaviour among migrants
    b) to improve the security management of migrants


The project is a collaboration between MANTRA; Moesgaards Anthropological Research and Analysis, Aarhus University and SEGES Innovation P/S.

Project Organisation

Project group

Innovation PI Johanne Korsdal Sørensen, Ph.D. and External Relations Manager

Research assistant: Sofie Kønig Wilms, cand.scient.anth.


Astrid Stampe Lovelady, Specialist Consultant, Plant & Environmental Innovation, SEGES Innovation P/S

Helle Birk Domino, Department Manager, Working Environment Manager, SEGES Innovation P/S

The steering group consists of representatives from MANTRA and SEGES.

The national follow-up group

Representatives from Agriculture & Food, GLS-A, 3F, the Norwegian Working Environment Authority, the University of Copenhagen and the Occupational Medicine Clinic, Herning and will have the opportunity to disseminate knowledge and results in their daily work and network.

The international follow-up group

Representatives from research institutions in Sweden, Norway, Germany, Romania and the USA, and will contribute with foreign perspectives.