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Industry called to up its game after nine farm deaths in February

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Pressure is mounting on the industry to address its abysmal safety record following the deaths of 13 people on UK farms this year.

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Industry called to up its game after nine farm deaths in February

With nine incidents in February alone, farm chiefs have called for a greater emphasis on farm safety, adding such a record would not be tolerated in any other industry.


Stephanie Berkeley, coordinator of the Yellow Wellies campaign which aims to promote health and safety on farms, said safety was ‘the dark side of farming’.


She said: “Safety should be part and parcel of what farmers do, but you have to ask yourself, have people been getting away with it for the last 40 years and no longer think about safety?”


The incidents in February took place in Suffolk, Gloucestershire, Aberdeenshire, Somerset, Denbighshire, North Yorkshire, Devon, Fife, Norfolk and the Scottish Borders.



The latest tragedy happened last weekend (Saturday, March 4) when a 20-year-old woman was killed when working with farm machinery on a farm in Devon.


Ed Ford, National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) chairman, said he was frustrated people were not engaging with safety.

Farm deaths up to March 4, 2017

  • Incidents involving machinery: 5
  • Incident involving quad bike: 1
  • Livestock handling: 1
  • Knocked down by farm vehicle: 3 (including one child)
  • Vehicles overturned: 1
  • Falling straw bales: 2

He said: “People say, ‘oh you don’t really think about it until it happens’ and everyone has the same attitude.


“But if this happened in the construction industry, they would be doing something about it. Instead we just accept it. It feels like we are going backwards.”


NFYFC has launched a farm safety module as part of its The Curve series, which trainers can deliver to clubs and counties. This includes videos from ambassadors who have been affected by a life-changing farm incident.


Mr Ford said he was championing the module, developed by the Farm Safety Foundation, as part of his year as NFYFC chairman.


He said: “We are targeting young people in the hope to turn the industry around. We have to keep pushing the message of farm safety.”

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