Renewed call for safety after two more farm deaths

Two fatal farm accidents have prompted reminders for farmers and farm-workers to stay safe at what is one of the busiest times of year.

The separate and unrelated fatalities saw two incident notifications issued by the Health and Safety Executive.

See also: Safety week plea to take care on farms

The first accident, which happened on 29 July in Cumbria, involved a self-employed farmer falling through a fragile roof.

Falls from height are one of the biggest causes of workplace death and life-changing injury – and the HSE says work on a roof requires the right equipment and training.

Rather than doing it themselves, farmers should use a competent contractor who has the knowledge, skills, equipment and experience to work at height on buildings, it says.

When planning roof work, it is important to consult a specialist and make sure the right things are in place before work starts.

Normally this will mean scaffold-edge protection, a good access ladder or tower and fragile materials covered or protected.

People on the roof may need appropriate harnesses and other personal safety equipment, said the HSE.

Bull attack

The second accident, which happened on 8 August in Hertfordshire, involved a self-employed worker who was killed by a bull.

Livestock handling is one of the biggest causes of death and serious injury on farms.

The HSE issued the following advice:

  • Anyone handling bulls must be trained, competent, fit and agile.
  • Never enter an enclosure (such as a bull pen) when a bull is loose.
  • Reduce the risk of injury to you, your workers and others (e.g. vets) by using proper handling facilities that are kept in good working order.
  • Use the right handling aids such as bull poles, halters, chains and ropes. Consider breed of animal, past handling experience and temperament to decide best handling method.
  • If the bull has not been ringed, ensure you have another equally effective means of handling, such as a halter and a rope around the base of the bull’s horns.

Carrying out tasks on unrestrained cattle or with makeshift equipment dramatically increases the risk of injury from crushing, kicking, butting or goring, said the HSE.