Transport and animals are the biggest killers in agriculture

Image of a tractor on the land.

Farmer in tractor preparing land for sowing

The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) latest fatality statistics show incidents involving moving vehicles and cattle are the biggest causes of death on Britain’s farms.

Thirty three workers and four members of the public were killed on Britain’s farms during 2014/15* with around half (16) being struck or run over by farm equipment, or crushed or trampled by cattle.

Transport and livestock are two of the five themes of ‘Farm Safety Week’ an initiative led by the Farm Safety Foundation.

During five days of practical advice and guidance, industry groups will also focus on issues surrounding the use of machinery and falls from height which accounted for seven deaths during 2014/15.

Falling or moving objects accounted for six people losing their lives and drowning or asphyxiation involving grain silos and slurry tanks resulted in six fatalities.

Although there were no child deaths on farms during 2014/15, in a typical year 1-2 children lose their lives on Britain’s farms and child safety continues to be a concern for the industry. For this reason It is the fifth theme of the Farm Safety Week.

HSE’s Head of Agriculture, Rick Brunt, said: “Deaths in farming have remained stubbornly high over the past few years and agriculture continues to have the poorest record of managing risk of any industry in Britain.

“The death rate on Britain’s farms is over five times that of the construction industry, and 20 times higher than the all industries average. The industry should recognise that these deaths are avoidable, and should not accept them as an inevitable consequence of farming.

“HSE applauds the industry for taking the initiative to tackle the causes of fatal and serious injuries.  We will continue to work closely with the Farm Safety Foundation, the Farm Safety Partnerships, and the NI and Ireland regulators to tackle this poor record.”

* The figures for 2014/15 are provisional

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.[2]
  2. Farm Safety Week UK & Ireland (6-10 July 2015) offers five days of themed practical advice and guidance for farmers and coincides with the Livestock Event at Birmingham NEC.
  3. HSE published the annual fatal incident statistics on Wednesday 1 July, a more detailed breakdown of agricultural fatalities will be published later in the year[3]
  4. Statistics for 2014/15 are provisional. They will be finalised in July 2016 following any necessary adjustments arising from investigations, in which new facts can emerge about whether the accident was work-related. The delay of a year in finalising the figures allows for such matters to be fully resolved in the light of formal interviews with all relevant witnesses, forensic investigation and coroners’ rulings.

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