A farm safety partnership has been launched in Scotland to raise awareness of dangers and reduce the risks of common farm jobs.
The Farm Safety Scotland Partnership (FSSP) was unveiled at the Black Isle Show in the Highlands and is committed to reducing the toll of people who are killed or seriously injured on Scottish farms and crofts.
Farming is now the most dangerous occupation in Great Britain and recent figures show almost 80 men, women and children died on Scottish farms over the past decade. Significantly more have been badly injured as a result of farming activities.
The FSSP partners, Scottish government, NFU Scotland, NFU Mutual and the Health and Safety Executive, unveiled a new campaign leaflet “Working Together to Save Lives”. It outlines the four most common dangers on farms – Falls, Animals, Transport and Equipment – and urges farmers not to leave their safety to FATE.
The statistics for the last decade show that 13 people have been killed on Scottish farms by falls when working at heights; nine people have been killed in incidents involving livestock; 26 people have been killed when their vehicles have overturned or they have been struck by a moving vehicle and six people have been killed when they came into contact with working machinery or equipment.
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Speaking at the launch of the partnership, NFU Scotland vice-president Allan Bowie said tragic incidents in the last few days in the UK and Ireland reminded everyone that farms were dangerous places.
“Most people will be able to recall a close call situation that could so easily have resulted in serious injury or even fatality. By adopting some simple steps as part of everyday working practices we can reduce the number of accidents and deaths on Scotland’s farms,” he said.
Scotland’s rural affairs minister, Richard Lochhead, said every single tragedy was one too many.
“Our men and women working in the farming industry to bring food to our tables do so in often hazardous conditions and this can sometimes have tragic consequences,” he said. “By raising awareness and providing safety information and tips, the Farm Safety Partnership Scotland has the potential to save lives and prevent injury, and I very much welcome this partnership initiative.
Following the launch of the partnership, its founder members and leaders of key farming organisations signed a pair of nine-foot tall yellow wellies which are the symbol of the Farm Safety Foundation set up by NFU Mutual to show its support for the initiative.