Dying to feed you

Help change farming's safety record

a Farmers Weekly campaign,
in partnership with Safety Revolution

Johann Tasker
Chief reporter, Farmers Weekly

HELP CHANGE FARMING’S SAFETY RECORD

The fatal accident rate on British farms is higher than in any other sector. While only 1% of the British workforce is employed in agriculture, the sector is responsible for 20% of all fatal accidents at work.

In 2020, there was a shocking year-on-year increase in the number of avoidable farm deaths. Farmers Weekly’s own assessment (confirmed by the HSE) suggested there had been more than 50 deaths on farms in the past 12 months.

The number of self-reported non-fatal accidents is equally shocking. According to the latest statistics from the HSE, there were 12,000 in 2020 – this is almost double the all-Industries rate.

Farming is one of the UK’s most dangerous jobs – with the highest number of workplace fatalities of all occupations. We have to do something about this.

Farmers Weekly is pledging to use its voice, influence and reach to reduce the accident rate in agriculture. Earlier this year we performed a survey on farm safety and the results will be published in a forthcoming issue of Farmers Weekly magazine and online at FWi.co.uk.

In the meantime, if you have had an accident on your farm and feel that your story would help our campaign, we would still like to hear from you.  You can share your story using the form below.

Johann Tasker
Chief reporter, Farmers Weekly

Mike fell 28ft through a shed roof

Mike Nixon fell through a shed roof to clean the guttering. He landed on a concrete scrape passage and sustained a serious spinal cord injury. It began like a normal work morning but ended in disaster.

Rob was attacked by a cow after calving

It’s a day that will be etched in my mind forever. It was 30 April last year. I never thought when I was getting up that morning that within a couple of hours I’d be flown off to hospital by the Welsh air ambulance.

James was dragged into a potato harvester

I went to work that morning as normal. We were lifting potatoes. We had finished a field and we’d run the harvester empty to make sure it was clear. I have no recollection at all what happened. But I got tangled in the haulm roller. The harvester took my arm and pulled me in – up and over – into the machine.

James just cried and said ‘Mum, I’ve lost my arm’

I think it was a Thursday morning. I got a phone call from from a friend of mine who needed somebody on the Friday to suck out the underground tanks that hold the run-off from the from the yard.

Tim fell 14ft and lost part of his skull

Norfolk farmer Tim Papworth spent five weeks in a coma and had part of his skull removed after falling from a ladder.

Tim took an easy route to a job, that on the face of it looked simple, but it cost him dearly. It took a year of rehabilitation, in which his wife had to remove the work guns from the house as he was so depressed.

Ashley Herbert never felt pain like it

Cumbria farmer Ashley Herbert was 24 when he lost his hand in a farm machinery accident. After being rushed by air ambulance to hospital, surgeons managed to stem the blood pouring from his arm and operate on him successfully.

Ashley now manages with a prosthetic arm and while he says he can do everything he needs to, he admits it is hard.

12-year-old William Sayers lost his arm

William Sayers was 12 years old when he lost his arm in an accident on the family farm in Northern Ireland. Here, he tells his story.

It was an Easter Monday. We had been putting out slurry all day and everything was going well. It came to about half seven at night and I could hear my mother calling us for tea.

Farmers Weekly launches campaign to make our industry safer

Growers and livestock producers are dicing with death on a daily basis – with half of all farmers saying they know someone killed in a workplace accident.

The stark statistic – uncovered by a Farmers Weekly survey – highlights the risks taken by farmers every day as they strive to put food on the nation’s plates.

Share your story

If you have had an accident on the farm and would be willing to share your experience with others to help aid our campaign, we would like to hear from you.

Has the accident affected your:

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Campaign partner

The team at Safety Revolution are delighted to be working with Farmers Weekly to reduce deaths in agriculture and to show how we can work together to create safer farms. Building strong and positive safety cultures delivers happy and safe teams, less incidents and improved productivity. We look forward to exploring individual case studies and shining a light on the best farm safety cultures.