Farm deaths have fallen to their lowest level on record, new data from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revealed.
The figures revealed the number of fatal injuries in 2019/2020 in agriculture, forestry and fishing had fallen to 20, compared to 32 in 2018/2019.
However, the data to March 2020 shows the sector still accounts for about 20 per cent of all worker deaths.
Recent months have seen several on-farm fatalities across the UK and earlier this week, a two-year-old boy died after being found ‘unresponsive in water’ at a farm in Lancashire.
Emergency services attended the incident in Ireby on Saturday June 27 and the boy was taken to Royal Lancaster Infirmary for treatment, but died shortly after.
NFU deputy president Stuart Roberts said while the figures show an important drop in fatalities, they indicate there is more to do.
Mr Roberts said: “Last year we lost too many of our family, friends and colleagues in the workplace – one fatality is too many.
“For the past few years we have seen many in the industry consciously prioritising health and safety and I hope these figures indicate the start of a downward trend which is underpinned by a culture change in the agriculture sector.
“There will be variations year-on-year and we need to see longer term sustained improvement before we can say that farm safety has fundamentally changed.”
NFU Scotland vice-president Charlie Adam, who represents NFU Scotland on the Farm Safety Partnership, praised farmers, the Farm Safety Partnership, HSE and the Yellow Wellies Foundation for all their work to help improve agriculture’s safety record.
Mr Adam said: “NFU Scotland has continued to work with both HSE and Yellow Wellies to provide our members with the best possible advice and guidance to keep themselves, their workforce and their families safe on-farm.
“There are still too many farm related deaths every year and it is important that we as an industry continue to work on our safety record.”