30 farm deaths in 2016-17, with transport the biggest killer

Thirty people were killed following accidents on UK farms from 2016 to 2017, according to annual statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Elderly farmers – those aged 65 and above – accounted for nearly half of the deaths with 13 incidents.

The youngest person killed on a farm was aged just three, and the oldest was 80.

See also: How a false leg inspired a safety campaign

The HSE figures were published to coincide with Farm Safety Week, from 24 July until 28 July, which will run alongside the Royal Welsh Show, the biggest agricultural show in Europe.

Transport remains the biggest killer on farms, accounting for nine (30%) of deaths.

Six people (20%) died after being trapped by something collapsing, five (17%) were struck by an object, three (10%) were electrocuted, two (7%) were killed after falling from height and two (7%) were injured by an animal.

One person died after contact with a pto shaft, another from being smothered after falling into a grain silo and another after being pinned against a door frame by a mini digger.

‘Highest fatal rate’

With a fatal injury rate of 7.61 workers per 100,000, agriculture is six times more dangerous than construction and 18 times higher than the average industry.

The total number of fatal accidents fell by two compared with the five-year average of 32, but one more person was killed than the 29 in the previous year (2015 to 2016).

Over the past 10 years, on average one person every nine days has been killed in agriculture.

NFU Cymru president Stephen James said the importance of farm safety was brought home when he suffered a couple of broken ribs after being kicked by a cow in March.

“Injecting cows in a loose area was something I had done numerous times, but this incident, and the subsequent discomfort, highlighted the risk I had been taking and how quickly things can turn for the worse,” he explained.

“Farming can be a dangerous occupation and assessing the risk before doing the job takes time, but thinking for a few moments to properly assess the job you are undertaking may save your life or prevent you from being seriously injured.”

The Wales Farm Safety Partnership, the charity behind Farm Safety Week, will be hosting a farm safety seminar at 2.30pm on Wednesday (26 July) in the NFU Mutual marquee at the Royal Welsh Show, in Builth Wells, Powys, along with other industry representatives.