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Farm Safety Week kicks off as HSE figures highlight poor safety record

The latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed 33 fatal injuries to agricultural workers in 2015

Olivia   Midgley

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Olivia   Midgley
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FG's farm health and safety survey highlighted farmers' attitudes
FG's farm health and safety survey highlighted farmers' attitudes

The third annual Farm Safety Week which raises awareness of the dangers associated with agriculture kicks off today (Monday).

 

The initiative was launched in 2013 and aims to cut the toll of accidents which give agriculture the poorest record of any occupation in the UK and Ireland.

 

The latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed 33 fatal injuries to agricultural workers in 2015.

 

This was an increase of six from 2013/14, but is in line with the five-year average of 33 deaths a year.

 

In the latest incidents Teal David, six, from Frieth, near Henley-on-Thames, south Oxfordshire, died when she was hit by a tractor being driven by her father at the family’s holiday home in North West Wales.

 

Hours earlier a farmer in his 60s died after being gored by a bull on a farm in Co Tyrone.

 

Farm chiefs said the incidents were a timely reminder of the dangers associated with agriculture.

 

Farm Safety Week (July 6-10) will offer themed practical advice and guidance for farmers to coincide with the Livestock Event.

 

Rob Jones, Farm Safety Foundation trustee, said advice would be available on a range of topics, from working with machinery and livestock to keeping children safe on farms.

 

He said: “Every child loves being on the farm, but while it can be a place of great fun and excitement, it can also be an extremely dangerous environment – especially for children.

 

“As a parent of two young children it is upsetting to read 16 children have lost their lives on England’s farms over the past decade.

 

“Farms remain the only workplace where children still continue to die in what is always a horrific tragedy for families and heart-breaking for their communities. This is why it is important the issue of farm safety is addressed, a plan is devised and implemented properly.”

 

Padraig Higgins, whose six-year-old son James died when he fell into a soak-pit on the family farm near Shannonbridge, Co Offaly, said his experience should act as a warning to others.

 

“All our little lads used to come out and feed calves and it was great but we did not see the danger,” he said.


“An accident happens in a split second and it is too late then. People have to be aware of what is left behind. A farmyard is not a playground."

 

  • Farm Safety Week is a joint initiative between the Farm Safety Foundation, Farm Safety Partnerships, the Health and Safety Executive, Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and Health and Safety Authority, Ireland.

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