Farmers must make safety a priority after a series of deaths, HSE says

Britain’s workplace regulator says more must be done to improve farm safety after being notified of four fatalities on farms in just over a fortnight.

Fatal incidents include the death of a three-year-old boy in Wales.

The incidents come just three weeks after Farm Safety Week, when the Health & Safety (HSE) issued its Fatal injuries in agriculture, forestry and fishing in Great Britain 2020/21 report highlighting the high fatality rate in the industry.

The figures showed that agriculture has the worst rate of fatal injuries of all the major industrial sectors, around 20 times higher than the average five-year annual rate across all industries.

HSE’s acting head of agriculture Adrian Hodkinson said: “While we must respect the ongoing investigations following these tragic incidents, most injuries or deaths that we’ve historically seen on farms have been both predictable and preventable.

“Despite the efforts of the Farm Safety Partnership in particular, an industry-wide change in attitude is needed for farmers to take action to protect themselves and others to the well-known risks they face.

“We are urging people who work on farms to make safety a priority and help us to reduce the number of deaths and injuries in the industry.”

Workers within the sector are also encouraged to seek help and advice from any of the Farm Safety Partnerships or leading farming organisations if they require guidance and support for specific tasks or activities.

Chair of Farm Safety Partnership England Stuart Roberts said: “The number of deaths on farmland is deeply upsetting. The fact remains that there have been four deaths in the last two weeks alone – that is four too many. Every farmer has a responsibility to make safety their number one priority, especially as we enter the height of the school holidays with more families visiting the countryside.”

 

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