Agriculture remains the second highest sector for worker fatalities as the number deaths on farms continues to rise in 2018, By Jim Gerrard
The Health and Safety Executive has released new figures showing farm worker deaths in the period 2017/8 was 29 compared to 27 in 2016/7.
However, Stuart Roberts, NFU vice-president and chairman of the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP), claimed attitudes to farm safety were changing for the better.
He said: “I really believe we are starting to see a shift in perspective amongst farmers towards health, safety and wellbeing, which is why it is disappointing to see farming hold the poorest safety record again.
“We are seeing the industry come together and shout about the importance of health and safety – even over the past two weeks, more than 200 farmers have attended NFU and FSP health and safety events and numerous county shows have prioritised this issue.
“I am proud to see how the conversation has changed around this subject in recent months and years but it is vital that words are put into action.
“I am fully aware of how difficult it can be to change culture and habits that have lasted a lifetime on farm but for our own wellbeing, this needs to change.
“The Farm Safety Partnership has set a target of halving farm deaths, from a base of 29, by 2023 and we are working hard to achieve this. Our ultimate goal is an industry with no fatalities.”
HSE figures showed worker deaths from agriculture increased from 27 in 2016/17 to 29 in 2017/18. Fatality rate per 100,000 workers in agriculture was 8.44, above the five-year average of 8.2.