Fatality rate fails to improve

The farming industry is working to improve its safety reputation.
The farming industry is working to improve its safety reputation.
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THE FARMING industry has been unable to shake off its reputation as the most dangerous in Britain, according to the latest fatality statistics.

New figures from the Health and Safety Executive show that 33 workers were killed in the agricultural industry in 2014/15.

In addition, four members of the public died on farms.

The figures show no progress against the industry’s five-year average despite campaigns to raise awareness of safety measures.

Of the 33 workers who died, 19 were self-employed and 14 were employees.

Efforts to promote the need to assess risks and take action to make agriculture safer will be renewed on Monday which brings the start of Farm Safety Week, a long-running initiative to reverse the disturbing trend and make the sector safer.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU), which promotes the initiative, said it will be working alongside partners from across the UK and Republic of Ireland to help achieve safer environments for agricultural workers.

Guy Smith, the union’s vice president and chairman of the Farm Safety Partnership, said: “The stagnant nature of these figures underlines the importance of the industry working to ensure the number of fatalities in our sector falls and the NFU is playing a leading role in this.

“The Farm Safety Partnership, a collaboration of 48 organisations, is committed to raising awareness of potential risks and promoting safe practices on farms.

“From the statistics, farming has the poorest record of any occupation in the UK. We need to take responsibility and wake up to the risks around us and do something about making our workplace safer.

“The Farm Safety Week tagline says it all: don’t learn safety by accident.”

The 33 fatal injuries suffered by agricultural workers gives the industry the worst rate of 9.12 deaths per 100,000 workers of any industry in Britain.

Worryingly, more agricultural workers died in the last farming year than the one before, with 27 deaths recorded across the sector in 2013/14.

The five-year average is 33 deaths per year, according to the Health and Safety Executive’s annual statistics published this week.