The 11th annual Farm Safety Week is upon us and the figures from the HSE Summary of fatal injuries in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Report in GB 2022/2023 show that the Agricultural sector still have the poorest safety record across any occupation in the UK and Ireland.
Remaining determinedly high, it was revealed that over the past year 27 people were killed on farms across England, Scotland and Wales.
These figures are made up of 21 farm workers and 6 members of the public including a child, who have lost their lives in farming and other agriculture-related activities.
Of these 27, five occurred in the Midlands region, an increase on last year’s figures.
This is a challenging time for the farming industry, but we need to plough on.
Stephanie went onto say "As a small charity based in the Midlands but covering the whole of the UK, the Farm Safety Foundation believes that, despite the improvements in attitudes and behaviours in the industry, many of these deaths and injuries could be prevented.
“The release of this year’s HSE figures serves as a sombre reminder of why Farm Safety Week matters. Shoes on the carpet should never tell boots on the ground what to do and we never would. The industry knows what it has to do. Every single person living and working in farming has to step up and take responsibility to make our farms safer places to work and to live.
“This is why, Farm Safety Week matters. It is personal. Every year, hundreds of people, organisations and communities support the campaign. Farming unions, Young Farmers Clubs, and many key agricultural businesses work with us throughout the week to share important safety reminders, remember those people who have been affected by death and injuries, and ultimately campaign for safer farms for everyone."
With farming being an industry where people do not always retire at the expected age, the report has shown that 33% of people killed in 2022/23 were aged 65 and over. The report has also shown that over the past five years, being struck by a moving vehicle was the most common cause of death in the agricultural sector.
Farm Safety Week is an annual campaign lead and funded by the Farm Safety Foundation.
There are no excuses for ignoring the importance of farm safety. Good safety practice doesn’t need to involve spending money, it’s about having a common sense approach to preventing accidents from happening. Farmers work long hours and tiredness can easily set in, so taking adequate breaks is very important – as is checking and re-checking equipment throughout the year. It’s not always easy, but there needs to be a shift away from old behaviours and attitudes towards good safety practice. Too many people are dying and being injured each year – and nobody is immune to the problem. Everyone, from landowner to tenant, from estate manager to farm hand, needs to put safety first this harvest.
To continue to make farming a safer industry for workers, families and everyone else involved, we must continue to challenge a change in attitude and raise awareness of responsibility to bring safety to the forefront.
For more information on Farm Safety Week click here to visit the Yellow Wellies website or follow @yellowwelliesUK on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook using the hashtag #FarmSafetyWeek