23rd Aug, 2021 Read time 4 minutes

HSE urged to make farming top priority

Following the notification of four farm-related fatalities in less than a fortnight, the United Kingdom’s labour regulator believes more has to be done to improve farm safety.

The unfortunate death of a three-year-old boy in Wales, as well as a suspected cow trampling in Marshfield earlier this week, are among the fatal events that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has learned about.
Cattle reportedly attacked public members in another incident, which has not yet been confirmed.


Three weeks following Farm Safety Week, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released its Fatal injuries in agriculture, forestry, and fishery in Great Britain 2020/21 study, which highlighted the high fatality rate among those working in the industry.
According to the data, agriculture has the highest rate of fatal injuries of any of the major industrial sectors, with a rate around 20 times higher than the average five-year annual rate across all industries.

Adrian Hodkinson, acting agricultural head at the Health and Safety Executive, said: “While we must respect the ongoing investigations into these unfortunate situations, the majority of injuries or deaths that we have seen on farms in the past have been predictable as well; as avoidable.”

“Despite the efforts of organisations such as the Farm Safety Partnership, an industry-wide shift in thinking is required for farmers to take proactive steps to safeguard themselves and others from the well-known hazards they confront daily.,” says the Farm Safety Partnership.

We have additional elements such as school holidays and a more significant number of members of the public who are enjoying the summer weather and walking along public routes that pass through fields with cattle at this time of year.
“However, we ask that farmers, agricultural workers, and farming contractors take the necessary precautions to prevent these instances from occurring. At this time of year, it is critical to manage the risks associated with livestock and work appropriately with agricultural machinery, especially now that harvest has begun.

“While the fatality rate in the agricultural sector is high, there are simple steps that workers can take to reduce their risk exposure. For example, making sure to turn off the power to automobiles or machinery before attempting repairs, keeping people away from moving vehicles, and trying to make sure dairy bulls and cows with calves are not in fields where public footpaths are present can all help to reduce risk.” He continued.

To help minimise the number of deaths and injuries in the agricultural industry, we encourage everyone working on farms to prioritise safety.

On the HSE website, you may find information on managing animals, reducing dangers to children and the general public, and maintaining farm vehicles and machinery, among other things.

It is also advised that workers in the sector seek assistance and advice from any of the Farm Safety Partnerships or prominent farming organisations if they require guidance and support for specific duties or activities.
Stuart Roberts, Chair of the Farm Safety Partnership England, expressed his displeasure at the frequency of deaths on farmland, saying: The truth remains that four people have died in the previous two weeks alone — four too many, in my opinion. Everyone who works on a farm is responsible for putting safety first, especially now that we are in the midst of the school holidays and more families are visiting the countryside.

“A lot of incidents can be prevented, which is regrettably true, and there are some quite basic and affordable improvements we can all do, starting with the simple reminder to assess risks constantly,” says the professor. We must also ensure that everyone riding quadbikes does so while wearing a helmet, that machinery is checked regularly, and that the Safe Stop method is followed every time we leave the cab.

On Tuesday, July 27, 2021, a man died after apparently falling from a height at a farm in Angus, Scotland. Police Scotland, with support from the Health and Safety Executive, investigated the cause of his death.

A three-year-old toddler died after being struck by a vehicle on a farm in Carmarthenshire, South Wales. The incident is being investigated by Dyfed Powys Police, with support from the Health and Safety Executive, and the cause of death has not been determined.
On August 9, 2021, a man died after a ramp from a truck fell on him at a farm in Hampshire. An investigation is underway, led by Hampshire Police with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) assistance.
After a man was found dead in a field in Marshfield, surrounded by livestock, an investigation is underway, led by the Avon and Somerset Police with assistance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

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