5 July 2002

Fatalities see a big drop – HSE

FORTY one people died in farm-related accidents last year, the joint lowest figure since records began, says the Health and Safety Executive.

The previous years death toll was 53 and HSE officials urged farmers to cut the figure still further.

Linda Williams, HSE chief agriculture inspector, said: "It is little consolation for the victims or their families, as all of the deaths could have been avoided.

"The industry must work hard to continue this downward trend in future years by adopting a positive safety culture.

"Too often a lack of awareness of the hazards and a disregard of the risks involved results in deaths on farms."

One of the fatalities involved a two-year-old boy who was run over by a telescopic handler on his fathers farm, but in contrast, 10 people killed at work were over normal retirement age, the eldest of whom was 83 years old.

Mrs Williams said: "I urge anybody working beyond the normal retirement age to remember that they are not as agile and resilient as they once were."

She added: "People working in the industry must recognise that such terrible accidents can all too readily involve them and they must not become complacent."

Fifteen of the fatalities involved transport. Eight people were killed after being struck by a moving object, including falling trees or branches, barn doors or gates in high winds. Falls accounted for five deaths, a reduction of seven from the previous year. Two of these were through farm roofs and two were from ladders. &#42