Farm fatalities prompt renewed safety warnings

A spate of fatalities has prompted renewed warnings for people to take care when working on the farm.

The Health and Safety Executive has issued notifications of four fatal farm accidents which occurred over recent weeks.

See also: Major campaign to reduce farm fatalities in 2019 – and beyond

Two of the incidents involved farm machinery.

In Scotland, a self-employed farmer was killed when a telehandler overturned on a slope on Sunday 24 March.

It followed a fatality on Saturday 16 March, when a self-employed farmer was killed by a bale which fell from a loader in North Yorkshire.

Grain store

Earlier, a Suffolk farmer was asphyxiated while working in a grain store on 14 February.

During the same month, a self-employed tree surgeon was killed when he was hit by the tree he was felling in West Yorkshire.

The fatalities come amid a year-long safety campaign to reduce the number of farm accidents and fatalities in agriculture.

Organised by the Farm Safety Partnership, the initiative involves 38 organisations working to improve the industry’s safety record.

Agriculture has the poorest record of any industry in Britain.

Proper training

Some 33 people were killed in agriculture across the country in 2017-18 – a figure 18 times higher than the all-industry fatal injury rate.

The HSE said it was essential that operators were properly trained and operated farm machinery in accordance with the manufacturer’s manual.

Farmers should avoid working in confined places where possible – and plan any entries into a confined space carefully if the work is absolutely necessary.

For tree surgeons, being struck by falling trees or branches is one of the biggest causes of workplace death and life changing injuries.

The proportion of people killed doing tree work was higher than almost any other occupation – and farmers should take care when doing the job themselves.