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Farming remains most dangerous occupation in the UK

10th Jul 2018 / By Alistair Driver

Agriculture remains the most dangerous industry in the UK, with fatal injury rates far outstripping all other occupations, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) annual figures for work-related fatalities.

hse logoThe HSE reported that 29 fatal injuries to agricultural workers were recorded in 2017/18, meaning workers in farming are 18 times more likely to die at work than the overall industry rate.

Considerable efforts have been made to change attitudes to farm safety over the past year or so in light of agriculture's poor record in this area. 

NFU vice president and chairman of the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP) Stuart Roberts, who addressed an NPA regional meeting on the issue of farm safety last year, said he was starting to see a change in attitude amongst farmers, despite the disappointing figures.

He 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.”

Mr Roberts said the Farm Safety Partnership has set a target of halving farm deaths, from a base of 29, by 2023 and it is working hard to achieve this.

“The ultimate goal is an industry with no fatalities,” he said. “Farm Safety Week begins on July 16 and the NFU will once again be working in partnership with many other organisations in highlighting best farm safety practice together with partners in the FSP.”

HSE chair Martin Temple said: “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."

You can read more the farming industry's challenges with farm safety, including the main causes of accidents and efforts being taken to address the culture within the industry here