30 December 1998
New law protects farm workers

by FWi staff

FARM employees will soon be able to expose dangerous working practices on farms without fear of losing their jobs.

Tough new laws which come into force in the New Year will prevent unscrupulous farmers from sacking whistle-blowing workers who report on-farm breaches of health and safety legislation.

The Public Interest Disclosure Act will protect safety-minded employees against dismissal by enabling them to claim unlimited compensation at an industrial tribunal if they find themselves out of a job.

The number of deaths in agriculture through accidents is second only to those in the construction and manufacturing industries, according to recent figures from the Health and Safety Executive.

There were 26 fatal accidents on farms between March and September this year and a total of 48 people died between April 1997 and March 1998.

The HSE now intends to publish half-yearly statistics in recognition of public interest in deaths occurring in the workplace.