The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released its annual ‘Fatal injuries in agriculture, forestry and fishing in Great Britain 2017/18’ report as the sixth annual Farm Safety Week (16-20 July) begins.
The report shows that 33 people were killed in agriculture last year, four more than the previous year and one more than the five-year average of 32. The figure includes four members of the public which were killed, two of whom were children.
The report said the sector continues to account for a large share of the annual fatality count (20%). Farming also had the highest rate of fatal injury of all the main industry sectors, around 18 times as high as the all industry rate.
The report found that eight people were killed after being injured by an animal, six people were struck by a moving vehicle and five were killed when trapped by something collapsing.
Other causes of fatalities included falling from a height, contact with electricity, contact with machinery and drowning.
The Farm Safety Foundation, the organisation that is charged with leading Farm Safety Week, said that rather than focusing on “agriculture’s poor safety record and stories of things going wrong, Farm Safety Week 2018 will start talking about when things go right, share good practice and demonstrate what ‘good’ looks like”.
The Farm Safety Foundation said: “It is a worrying fact that the same accidents are still happening and claiming the lives and limbs of too many of our nation’s farm workers however things are changing.
“Initiatives and training of the next generation of farmers means that tomorrow’s farmers are more aware, more informed and more capable of making educated decisions but awareness is one thing, the time has come for action. Hence our new strapline – ‘It’s Your Health. Your Safety. Your Choice’.”
Farming Minister George Eustice added: “The farming industry is essential to our national economy – employing more than 340,000 people – and plays a vital role in producing the food that we all know and love. Initiatives, such as Farm Safety Week, are important in raising awareness of good workplace practice, and I encourage farmers across the UK to read this week’s case studies, articles and blogs to help understand how they can stay safe at work.”