Farming has failed to shake off its unwanted banner as the most dangerous sector for serious workplace injury and deaths, according to the latest Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures.
In 2018/19, 32 workers sustained fatal injuries while working in agriculture, which is three more than the average of 29 deaths each year since 2014/15.
Being struck by a moving vehicle (25%), injured by an animal (17%) and falls from height (16%) were the three most common causes of farm deaths.
In 2018/19, there were an estimated 14,000 non-fatal injuries in the agricultural sector – a rate per 100,000 of 4.1%, which is more than double the all-industry average.
But industry leaders believe this figure is just the tip of the iceberg as a large number of injuries go unreported.
In agriculture, there were an estimated 7,000 work-related cases of musculoskeletal disorders (new or long-standing) annually – about half of all ill health in this sector.
Farmer’s lung, occupational asthma, skin disease and cancer were among the range of diseases and conditions reported by farmers.
Cost of ill health
The economic cost of injury and ill health in agriculture is estimated at £390m per year.
There were 210 improvement notices and 95 prohibition notices issued by the HSE in 2018/19 with total fines of £675,000.
HSE chairman Martin Temple said: “These figures should highlight to us all the vital importance of managing risk and promoting behaviours to improve the standard of good health and safety practice in the workplace.
“We must all share the responsibility of ensuring everybody is aware of what they need to do to work right by preventing work-related incidents, and making our places of work healthier and safer for everyone.”
Yorkshire farming partnership to pay £28k over man’s JCB death
A man was killed after being run over by a JCB telehandler on a farm in North Yorkshire, a court was told.
On 22 February 2017, the deceased was struck by a telescopic loader being driven by farmer Anthony Ackroyd, Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard.
The incident occurred at Waller House Farm in Wighill, Tadcaster when Mr Ackroyd was driving the JCB telescopic loader carrying three bales of hay on the front, severely restricting forward visibility.
He could not see the deceased and drove over him, killing him instantly.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found the deceased had been previously employed on the farm before his retirement, and lived in a cottage adjacent to the farm. He was a regular visitor to the farm, carrying out work such as gardening.
Farming partnership B A L Ackroyd, of Waller House Farm, Wighill Park, Tadcaster, North Yorkshire pleaded guilty to breaching the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay £10,690 costs.