Farm Safety Week shines the spotlight on avoidable tragedies

During the last decade, 363 members of the agriculture community have lost their lives in farm incidents – and this week highlights the importance of risk management.

This year’s Farm Safety Week is set against the stark fact that, of all the main industry sectors, agriculture has by far the worst record for accident fatalities.

Organised by Yellow Wellies, the Farm Safety Foundation, and supported by the National Farmers Union (NFU), Farm Safety Week 2022 runs from 18 to 22 July. It is designed to shine a spotlight on the industry, its track record and, most importantly, on ways to improve safety across the sector.

The event was launched alongside publication of the Health & Safety Executive’s report on fatalities in agriculture, forestry and fishing in 21/22. Elements of the report highlight the need to improve safety standards, demonstrating that these accidents happen regularly, are often avoidable, and occur in normal farming circumstances.

They include:

  • A 67-year-old farmer leaned out of the back window of a tractor and died after being trapped between the tractor and topper.
  • A 63-year-old farmer repairing a tractor was killed when it moved, rolling over his leg.
  • A 19-year-old worker was killed when he was struck by an HGV driving across a yard.
  • A 21-year-old worker was killed when she tried to climb onto a moving tractor towing a barley drill. She missed her footing and was drawn into the drill.

Sadly, the list goes on. More than a third of those killed were over 65 and, tragically, the youngest killed in a farming incident was just nine years old.

Stephanie Berkeley from the Farm Safety Foundation has said: “Behind every fatal notification is a worker, a member of the public and, this year, a child. We cannot become immune to the impact that each and every death has on farming families and communities across the UK and Ireland. In the ten years since our first campaign, we have lost a total of 363 people to farm incidents so cannot continue to accept that risk-taking is part and parcel of farming – we have to work harder to make it safer.

“This is why a campaign like Farm Safety Week still matters. When many voices join together to drive a change, this is when it can happen but we need to maintain a firm focus on risk management every day of the year not just during Farm Safety Week.”

Marking the tenth year of Farm Safety Week, the NFU is offering a special, discounted e-learning course to its members for just £18.

Agriculture Health and Safety: How to Meet Your Legal Responsibilities is a two-hour course, developed with Lantra to help the farming community identify and manage risk on their farms. Sign up for the course here.

The Thrings Agriculture team has been chosen by the NFU to act for its members in more counties than any other firm. Find out more about how we can support farmers, food producers and rural communities on our Information for Farmers page.


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