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Listen: Farm safety week

21st July 2020
Posted by Aston Avery

For those of us who have been following every possible safety measure to avoid the invisible danger of COVID19 – washing our hands until our skin starts to crack, avoiding social contact with family and friends, risk assessing and redirecting our route as soon we see someone approaching – the thought that someone would see a danger on the horizon and do nothing to avoid it is hard to fathom.

But, according to the UK’s leading farm safety charity, the Farm Safety Foundation, this is exactly what farmers and farm workers have been doing for years and this is why agriculture continues to have the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK. Today, however, there are signs that poor attitudes to safety, risk-taking behaviours and the number of farmers and farm workers losing their lives on the UK’s farms may finally be improving with the release of  the Health and Safety Executive Fatal Injuries in Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing for Great Britain 2019/2020 which reports that 20 agriculture workers lost their lives over the past year, a decrease of 37.5% on the previous year’s figure of 32. 

To mark the start of the annual Farm Safety Week campaign, HSE have shared their in depth report into fatal injuries in the sector and revealed that over the past year, a total of 21 people in England, Scotland and Wales were killed in agriculture – 20 agriculture workers and 1 member of the public – a four year old child.. The biggest cause of these fatalities was farm transport.

Now in its eighth year, Farm Safety Week brings together five countries over five days with ONE clear goal – to remind farmers and farm workers to take safety seriously so we can reduce the number of life-changing and life-ending accidents on our farms.

Aston spoke to Stephanie Berkeley, manager of The Farm Safety Foundation and Farm Safety Week to discuss all this and highlight the HSE’s annual report findings as well as how the farming communities can continue to get safer.

Photo by Adele Payman on Unsplash