Farming remains one of the most dangerous professions in the UK despite hard-hitting campaigning by the Heath and Safety Executive over the past 12 months.
The HSE’s Come Home Safe Make the Promise campaign began a year ago and 15,000 farmers have signed up.
But one person still dies every week in farming, a statistic that has not changed for more than a decade, according to the HSE’s latest figures.
The figures show one in five work-related deaths occur within the farming industry – even though only 1.5% of the population works on farms.
“The type of accidents haven’t changed either,” said Judith Hackitt, HSE chairwoman, at the NFU conference.
“Falls from height and getting trapped in machinery are still the biggest cause of death and appalling injury.
“People almost accept the statistics for farming as the way things have to be. It doesn’t have to be like this. The saddest fact is that it is unnecessary,” Ms Hackitt said.
“Where accidents happen we see a ripple of change. People realise the colossal impact of a death or serious injury and change their practice.
“The wider community around the accident also changes. But beyond that people continue to take life-threatening risks.
“Act before it happens. Don’t think it won’t happen to me,” she said.
Industry deaths per 100,000
For full conference coverage see our NFU 2010 Conference special report page