Agriculture fails to shake off ‘most dangerous’ tag

Agriculture remains the most dangerous industry to work, according to the latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive.
Agriculture remains the most dangerous industry to work, according to the latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive.
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Heightened vigilance has been called for within the region’s agricultural industry after new figures showed that three people were killed on Yorkshire farms in 12 months.

Provisional figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reveal that in 2016/17, agriculture had the highest rate of fatal injury, around 18 times higher than the rate recorded across all industries combined.

Gerard Salvin, of Yorkshire-based farm insurance specialist Lycetts.

Gerard Salvin, of Yorkshire-based farm insurance specialist Lycetts.

In total, 30 people have been killed on British farms in the past year – making agriculture the most dangerous industry to work in.

The main causes of death were being struck by vehicles (30 per cent), being trapped by something collapsing (20 per cent), being struck by an object (17 per cent), coming into contact with electricity (10 per cent) and falling from height and injury by an animal (both seven per cent).

Gerard Salvin, of Yorkshire-based farm insurance specialist Lycetts, said: “It is worrying that agriculture remains one of the most dangerous industries, with the high fatality rate far exceeding other industries.”

Mr Salvin added: “HSE’s research shows that vehicle-related activities consistently lead to more deaths than any other category, and that half of the workers killed by something collapsing were taking part in activities involving vehicles and machinery.

“So, while some of these deaths have been the result of freak accidents, many could have been prevented.

“Although this is a sad fact, this gives us hope that, with better practice on farms and safer use of machinery, incidents like this could become rarer.”

Agriculture has a 7.61 fatal injury rate per 100,000 workers – six times that of the construction sector, according to the new figures released by the HSE.

Whilst 27 of the past year’s deaths involved workers, three were members of the public.

The age of the victims varies hugely, with the youngest being three and the oldest, 80. The youngest worker to be killed was 18.

In Yorkshire, April 2016 and March 2017, a 79-year-old farmer was killed when he was crushed and trapped in the gap between a seed drill and tractor, a 47-year-old gamekeeper was killed when his quad bike overturned at night during rabbit shooting and an 80-year-old farm employee was struck and run over in the farm yard by a telehandler moving bales.