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Farm Safety Week focuses on child safety

16th Jul 2018 / By Alistair Driver

Farm Safety Week 2018 is under way, with the spotlight on child safety.   

Farm Safety Week 18To launch the week, which runs from July 16-20, HSE has published its latest report showing the annual fatal injuries in agriculture in Great Britain in 2017/2018 .

Over the past year 29 fatal injuries to agricultural workers were recorded, with the sector responsible for one in five of the annual fatalities. Farming still has the highest rate of fatal injury of all the main industry sectors, around 18 times higher than the all industry rate.

Nearly half the workers killed (14 of 29) were over 65, while the most affected region was Yorkshire and the Humber accounting for 21% of fatalities. 

The report also highlights that animals were the main cause of fatal accidents among farm workers, accounting for almost a quarter (24%) of all workplace fatalities. Other causes included being struck by farm vehicles such as tractors or trailers (18%), trapped by something collapsing (15%) and being struck by objects such as bales and tree branches (12%).

Farm Safety Week aims to reduce the number of accidents which continue to give farming the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK & Ireland

Accidents on farms can be life changing, both for those involved and their families, but the organisers stressed that it is even more devastating when accidents involve a child. Two of the fatal injuries in the past year involved children, which is why Farm Safety Foundation is encouraging farmers to be extra vigilant and take every precaution to make their farms safe for children.

Stephanie Berkeley from the Farm Safety Foundation said: “Farms can be wonderful places for children to grow up, but the sad fact is that farms are the only workplace where children continue to die, which is heart-breaking for the families involved and a horrific tragedy for their communities. We want to highlight the importance of child safety on farms and urge farming families to talk openly about farm safety and make it their priority.

“Many of those injured or killed on our farms have been doing this all their lives. In the HSE report 48% of this year’s fatalities were farm workers over the age of 65. Unlike other occupations, farmers don’t tend to retire at 65 and often work well into their 80s. Factors such as health, agility and stubbornness combine with risk-taking, fatigue and improperly maintained machinery to create this ‘risk’ nightmare.”

NFU vice president Stuart Roberts added: “Safety is not just one week. Safety is something that should be in our minds every day we are at work.

“Farm Safety Week is a way to help move safety right up the agenda and set us up for a year of change and improvement. Farm Safety Week is an industry wide focus on safety and how things can change in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.”

  • For more information on Farm Safety Week visit www.yellowwellies.org or follow @yellowwelliesUK on Twitter/Facebook using the hashtag #FarmSafetyWeek