New HSE figures reveal Farm deaths have doubled in 12 months
Farming is an industry with one of the highest death rates in the UK, with the high amount of heavy machinery in operation there are plenty of opportunities for incidents to occur and with the nature of the work and the gear used, these can sometimes prove fatal.
The industry’s poor safety record has received another blow with recent figures from the HSE Executive revealing that deaths in the profession had nearly doubled within the last year. This data has prompted fresh calls for a total reassessment of how risk is managed within the sector going forward.
According to the findings of the Fatal Injuries in Agriculture Report, 41 people were killed on British farms, compared to 21 in the previous period. Of the 41 dead, 34 were farm workers and 7 members of the public. Of the 7 members of the public who died, 5 were adults killed by cattle and 2 were children.
Adrian Hodkinson, head of agriculture at the HSE commented that the risks in farming are often not properly addressed when they investigate farms from a health and safety perspective. Often workers accept the risk as part of their job, when simple measures such as putting the hand brake on and fastening lap belts in cabs could help manage the risks associated with farming.
Fatigue has also been linked to a number of deaths in farming. Tiredness emerged as one of the main issues among workers in a digital survey which indicates that the industry has a long way to go when it comes to managing fatigue. Areas like fatigue are not only problematic from an immediate safety point of view, they can lead to well-being issues if they are not properly addressed.
Overall the findings are worrying, and an example of why health and safety is an ongoing challenge that many organisations, in many different industries, are trying to solve.