HSE reveals farming injuries numbers remain largely unchanged over recent years
The number of fatal farming injuries at work has fallen but not at the same rate as other industries, according to statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
During 2013/14 the number of fatal injuries in the farming industry was 27, compared with an average of 33 over the last five years. However agriculture injuries have not fallen to the same extent as in construction and manufacturing and the rate of fatal injury per 100,000 workers was 8.8 during the last year, significantly higher than any other sector.
The most common causes of death in farming, forestry and horticulture include being struck by moving vehicles, being struck by falling or moving objects, falls from heights, asphyxiation or drowning and contact with machinery.
According to the HSE, an average of almost one person per week has been killed as a result of agricultural work over the last 10 years and the total annual cost of agriculture-related work injuries is estimated to be around £190 million.
Judith Gledhill, head of personal injury at Thompsons Solicitors said: “The statistics confirm what we have seen in our cases at Thompsons – that workers in industries such as farming and agriculture are particularly vulnerable to workplace accidents. Agricultural workers work with dangerous machinery in hazardous environments on a daily basis, with workers also frequently being exposed to noxious chemicals which can in themselves lead to a variety of health problems.
"While other industries have seen workplace injuries fall over recent years thanks to improved health and safety standards, farming injury rates remain largely unchanged and that’s a real worry.
“Around one in a hundred people work in the agriculture industry, yet according to the HSE, the industry accounts for around one in five fatal injuries at work; a clear indicator of the improvements that need to be made.
“All employers have a duty to ensure that their employees come home from work safely. It is time for the farming industry to invest the same amount of time and money in improving workplace safety standards as other industries that combine dangerous environments and machines. The government should be funding the HSE properly to ensure they can be proactive in the sector rather than just reactive.”
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