Safety In The Agricultural Industry Leaves Much To Be Desired
New statistics prove that farming is still one of the most dangerous jobs in Britain. What precautions can be taken to minimise the risk of fatalities?
The latest figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have revealed that agriculture is still one of the most dangerous industries in the UK. In the workforce as a whole there are 78.5 injuries per 100,000 employees each year. In the farming industry this rises to a rate of 239.4 injuries per 100,000 employees.
In addition, while there has been a drop in serious workplace accidents overall, agriculture has bucked this downward trend. In 2012 – 2013 a staggering 375 major injuries were reported by farmers. This is only one less than the previous year. The industry remains the riskiest for fatal injuries – one in five of all workplace fatalities in the UK involves a farmer.
The head of HSE’s agricultural sector, Graeme Walker, said: Work place health and safety figures demonstrate that the agricultural industry has maintained improvements to health and safety standards in the last twelve months but there is still much to do to reduce deaths and serious injuries. Too many lives continue to be lost or damaged. We need to work together to make sure farmers make it home to their families safely each day.”
These shocking statistics highlight real problems in the industry. But what needs to change?
The first week of July marked Farm Safety Week, an annual initiative designed to raise awareness of health and safety in the agriculture industry. The tagline of this year’s event was ‘Who will fill your boots?’ Organisers advertised 5 key safety tips – one for each day of the week:
- Monday: “Overhaul your overalls” – wear the right safety gear with a secure chest pocket for your phone
- Tuesday: “ Ditch a duff shaft” – make sure your pto shafts are safely covered
- Wednesday: “Act on accident statistics” – The latest annual report on the causes of farm accidents was released by HSE this week
- Thursday: “Don’t step on my toes” - protect yourself from livestock injuries
- Friday: “Lose a lousy ladder” – make sure your ladder is safe to climb
Farm Safety Week also raised awareness with a Twitter chat about safety using the hashtag #AgriChat. In addition a game called #KeepCliveAlive was made available to download as an app. This was designed as a fun way to raise awareness of farm safety.
Another way in which you can improve safety on your farm is through the use of adequate farming signs. These are designed to alert both employees and visitors to potential dangers. An extensive range of signs are easily available online, covering everything from notices about dogs and cattle to warnings about farmyard hazards such as electric fences and machinery. These are available in a range of sizes. Ensuring that your farm has sufficient signage will reduce the risk of accidents.
It is also essential to ensure that your staff have received adequate health and safety training. This will improve not only their own safety, but that of you and their others colleagues. The Farm Safety Partnership offers a wide range of guidance and advice about training on their website.