Agriculture Industry Has ‘Worst Rate’ of Worker Fatalities

Agriculture Industry Has ‘Worst Rate’ of Worker Fatalities

The latest report from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revealed that the agriculture industry has the worst rate of worker fatalities in Great Britain, with 21 people killed last year… including one child.

The biggest leading cause of death was transport-related incidents, such as being struck by a moving vehicle or a vehicle overturning. Approximately half of those killed were over the age of 55, with older people disproportionately most at risk of fatalities on farms.

In addition, one four-year-old child was killed in 2019, with the HSE now urging farmers to ensure that children are kept safe while they stay at home on farms during coronavirus restrictions.

Children shouldn’t be allowed in the farm workplace unless properly supervised and it is both illegal and unsafe to carry children under the age of 13 in agricultural vehicle cabs.

The HSE report was published to coincide with Farm Safety Week, taking place between July 20th and 24th, led by the Farm Safety Foundation.

The aim of the campaign is to emphasise the importance of safety and wellbeing in the sector, with HSE stats showing that the industry’s fatal injury rate among workers is 18 times higher than the all-industry average.

Adrian Hodkinson, head of agriculture with the HSE, said: ““Each individual death is a huge and devastating loss to their family, friends and the wider community.

“It is not acceptable that agriculture and forestry continue to have such high rates of people being killed, and we will continue to push for a wholesale change of attitude and behaviours toward safety within the sectors.”

He went on to add that cases of ill health, death, injury and poor mental health are not an inevitable part of working in the sector and the health and wellbeing of people “must be treated seriously” at all times.

Given that the most common cause of serious injuries and fatalities in the industry involve moving and overturning vehicles, it would perhaps be sensible to review working practices and make sure you’re doing all you can to reduce the risk of incidents such as these.

The HSE advises you to break transport activities up into different areas – Safe Stop, Safe Vehicle, Safe Driver and Safe Site – so you can spot problems easier and take action more immediately and effectively.

Safe Stop, for example, includes checks like engage handbrake, controls in neutral, switch off engine or turn off power and remove key or lock off the power supply. These checks should be carried out before leaving the driving seat or operating position, when anyone else approaches and before anyone carries out any maintenance, adjustments or deals with a blockage.

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