The number of injuries on farms has risen by 9% in the past year, according to statistics released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Between April 2011 and March 2012 the agricultural industry recorded 1,033 injuries – a 9% increase on the 948 accidents in the previous 12 months.
More than 670 of those were categorised as serious, forcing workers to take more than three days’ absence. That is also an increase of 9% on 2010-11.
Major injuries – amputations, fractures and burns – were also up from 354 in 2010 to 362 in 2011-12.
Head of HSE’s agriculture sector, Graeme Walker, said: “It is generally accepted that agriculture is one of the most challenging sectors in which to work. Though Britain compares favourably with other countries in Europe on workplace health and safety, the latest figures for farming clearly illustrate that more work needs to be done.
“Too many lives continue to be lost or damaged. I know that the farming community accepts and wants to address the problem. One of the most important and encouraging developments in recent years has been the way the industry and the people who work in it have shown leadership in tackling it.”
Mr Walker added: “We all have a responsibility to ensure serious workplace risks are reduced and sensibly managed. The HSE is committed to working with farmers to raise awareness of the consequences of cutting corners and taking unnecessary risks and the benefits of improving standards.”
There has also been little change in the industries in which workers are most likely to be injured or made unwell by their jobs – with construction (171.8 major injuries per 100,000 employees), agriculture (241.0 major injuries per 100,000 employees) and waste and recycling (397.6 major injuries per 100,000 employees) among the higher risk sectors.
The toll of injury and ill-health resulted in 27 million working days being lost, an average of 16.8 days per case, with 22.7 million days lost to ill-health and 4.3 million days lost to injuries. These figures are up slightly on 2010-11 when 26.4 million working days were lost.
Workplace injuries and ill-health (excluding work related cancer) cost society an estimated £13.4billion in 2010/11
See our farm health and safety pageJon Riley on G+