New figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Fatal Injuries in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing in GB report have revealed that agriculture continues to have the poorest safety record in the UK and Ireland.

Although the fatality rate has dropped from 41 to 25 over the past year, 25 deaths are still 25 too many. Of the people killed, in England, Scotland and Wales, 22 were farm workers and three were members of the public, one of whom was a nine-year-old child.

Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, six people lost their lives, accounting for 33 per cent of all workplace fatalities, while in the Republic of Ireland, farming accounted for 26 per cent of all workplace fatal incidents.

Publication of the report coincides with the Farm Safety Foundation’s tenth annual Farm Safety Week (18 to 22 July), which brings together all five countries with one objective – to encourage farmers to make their farms safer places to live and work.

Throughout the week, the Foundation will highlight some of the key issues facing the farming community and highlight the work being done to drive a change in attitudes and behaviours. In addition, 10 inspirational farm safety heroes who have worked over the past decade to reduce the injury risk to farmers across the UK and Ireland will be revealed.

As the Foundation points out, although farming has changed so much over the past decade, its safety record has not, and asks the simple question, ‘why?’.  A spokesman for the charity also reminds us that the figures quoted by the HSE report are not just statistics but relate to a worker, visitor or child.

According to a survey, 66 per cent of farmers of all ages in the UK are aware of Farm Safety Week, with 80 per cent of farmers under the age of 40 knowing about the campaign. With farming being an industry where people do not retire at 65, this could suggest that older workers are at more risk. However, the Farm Safety Foundation insists that farmers of all ages need to start challenging and changing their attitudes towards farm work.

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Posted in Agriculture, Blogs.