Agriculture is the UK’s most dangerous industry, with 29 deaths on farms last year, according to new figures.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures found that those in farming are 18 times more likely to die at work than the overall industry rate. The National Farmers Union (NFU) said it is continuing to work on making the industry a safer place.
HSE Chair Martin Temple said: “Despite the fact that Britain’s health and safety record is the envy of much of the world, the increase in the number of workers fatally injured is clearly a source of concern.
“Published in the same week as the 30th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster, the figures serve as a reminder of why health and safety is so important and that we must not become complacent as we continue on our mission to prevent all forms of injury, death and ill health at work.”
The most common causes of death at work were found by the HSE to be, workers falling from height (35), being struck by a moving vehicle (26) and being struck by a moving object (23), accounting for nearly 60% of fatal injuries in 2017/18.
NFU vice president, Stuart Roberts said: “I really believe we are starting to see a shift in perspective among farmers towards health, safety and wellbeing, which is why it is disappointing to see farming hold the poorest safety record again.
“This is just another example of how farmers are sharing good practice and talking to each other about how to reduce risk on farm. I am proud to see how the conversation has changed around this subject in recent months and years but it is vital that words are put into action. I am fully aware of how difficult it can be to change culture and habits that have lasted a lifetime on farm but for our own wellbeing, this needs to change.”
The Farm Safety Partnership (FSP) of which Roberts is chairman, has set a target of halving farm deaths by 2023.
Roberts added: “The ultimate goal is an industry with no fatalities.”