Farming accidents increase by 20%

21 September 2001

Farming accidents increase by 20%

By Andy Moore

A TOTAL of 53 people died in agricultural accidents in the year from April 2000 to March 2001, reports the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

It is a count which represents an increase of 20% on last years toll, and one higher than the average number of deaths over the past five years.

"The rise in the number deaths is very saddening and gives us great cause for concern," says Linda Williams, HM Chief Inspector of Agriculture who points out that, on average, the last five years has seen one person killed every seven days in the agricultural sector.

"We aim to redouble our efforts to reduce the number of deaths and the industry must take greater measures to cut this tragic loss of lives," she says.

Of the 53 deaths, 14 were employees and 32 were self-employed, while the remaining seven deaths involved people not at work and included children.

"Children are particularly vulnerable and deserve much better protection," stresses Mrs Williams. "But we should also note that 10 of the 46 workers killed were over retirement age – the eldest being 82 – indicating that experience is no guarantee for safety."

In attempt to curb this number of fatalities, the HSE will continue its Revitalising Heath and Safety campaign.

This, says the HSE, will be run through a series of workshops in conjunction with training bodies and the NFU at agricultural colleges.

"The campaign is about injecting new impetus and awareness to improve health and safety standards in all farming workplaces. HSE is committed to improving these standards and reducing the toll of occupational injury and ill health in agriculture," insists Mrs Williams. &#42

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