Review of 2012: Farm accidents continue apace

As we bid farewell to 2012 we look back at the events that marked last year including, sadly, a continuing high number of accidents occuring on farms.

Farming failed to shake off its unwanted tag of “Britain’s most dangerous industry” in 2012.

Serious injuries and deaths recorded in agriculture have remained stubbornly high during the past year. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said 33 farm workers were killed at work during the period April 2011 to March 2012 – a 10% increase from 30 deaths recorded in the previous year.

Recorded injuries to farmworkers also rose from 948 to 1,033 – a 9% increase. The HSE estimates just one in five farm injuries is officially reported and these figures are the “tip of the iceberg”.

A survey by Farmers Weekly and NatWest Mentor revealed disturbing gaps in practice on farms. More than half of the 378 employers that responded admitted not having a documented policy – and 30% admitted never giving employees health and safety training.

But farmers appear determined to change the poor health and safety record. The latest HSE programme of safety and health awareness days was oversubscribed in November.

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