Agriculture remains the most dangerous civilian occupation with more deaths per worker than construction, manufacturing or services, according to the annual statistics recently released by the Health & Safety Executive.

The total number of workplace fatalities for all industries during 2006/7 was 241, equivalent to 0.8 per 100,000 workers, up marginally from the 217 recorded in the previous year, the lowest annual figures on record.

In agriculture there were 34 workplace deaths, the same as 2005/6 and equivalent to 8.1 deaths per 100,000 workers. This is more than double the 3.7 deaths per 100,000 workers in construction and almost eight times the 1.1 deaths per 100,000 workers in manufacturing.

No change

Significantly, while construction has become a safer workplace over the past 15 years reducing the number of deaths by an average of almost 4% year-on-year, agriculture remains largely unchanged.

Over the eleven-year period between 1996/97 – 2006/7 nearly three-quarters of all fatalities were due to: being hit by a moving vehicle (22% of all fatalities) falling from height (17%) being struck by a moving or falling object (17%) contact with moving machinery (10%) and being trapped by something collapsing or overturning (8%). Of the 34 fatalities in 2006/7, 10 resulted from being injured by an animal.

* To evaluate the level of risk on your farm the HSE has produced a self-assessment programme which can be downloaded from the agriculture section of the HSE website, or requested a CD by calling HSE books on 01787 881 165 and quoting reference MISC831.

See our Saftey Academies.