Freeclaim Solicitors welcome decrease in farm accident fatalities but more safety measures still needed
The agricultural sector and farming are one of the most dangerous industries to work in.
Farming accidents generally lead to more serious injuries which have a devastating impact on farm workers and their families.
The agricultural sector and farming are one of the most dangerous industries to work in. The total number of reported fatal work related injuries in the agriculture sector was down by 8.5% in 2012/2013. The decrease is welcome news but much more needs to be done to improve safety in this industry.
Although the agricultural industry makes up less than 2% of the total workforce in the UK, the amount of accidents reported are alarmingly high and the sector has one of the poorest health and safety records. Nearly 20% of fatal accidents reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are from the agricultural sector. In the year 2012/13, 32 workers were fatally injured.
Several farming businesses have recently been to court and fined after HSE investigations found there had been a breach of health and safety regulations, putting employees at risk of sustaining serious injuries.
A farm in North Yorkshire was fined after a worker sustained serious injuries to his back and ribs when he was incorrectly using a loader to move hay bales. Two of the bales fell and crushed him, leaving him permanently disabled by his injuries. The HSE found that no adequate training had been provided on the proper use of the loader.
At a farm in Cambridgeshire, two young brothers sadly died when they were working in pest and predator control. One brother fell from a boat when he was attempting to retrieve a dead bird from a stretch of water. The other brother entered the water to help but both sadly drowned. The HSE found that they should have both been provided with life jackets which would have prevented the tragic accident.
Three other farm owners were fined after a worker was seriously injured when he fell three meters from a forklift truck. The man was retrieving seed potatoes when the accident happened. To reach the seed potatoes, the man was lifted by a forklift truck in a potato box. The farm owners failed to ensure that their workers were using the equipment provided to them, and were carrying out activities in a safe manner.
All of these cases illustrate the dangers faced by farmers and farm workers in the agricultural sector. It is imperative that all workers are kept safe at work. The main causes of injury on a farm include accidents involving vehicles and machinery (including tractors, combine harvesters etc), working at height, illnesses and injuries caused by chemicals and hazardous substances, silos and slurry store accidents, injuries caused by falling objects (such as hay bales) and asbestos related illnesses. It is estimated by the HSE that the total annual cost of injuries in farming, forestry and horticulture is a staggering £190 million.
Philip Coulthurst, a serious injury lawyer at Freeclaim Solicitors, believes that much more can be done to improve safety on farms, “Farming accidents generally lead to more serious injuries which have a devastating impact on farm workers and their families. Managing risks and putting in place good safety procedures is absolutely essential to protect workers and should be an integral part of good farm business management.”
Freeclaim Solicitors have over 25 years’ experience dealing with serious injury claims arising out of accidents on farms. To find out more call 0800 612 7340 or visit their website at http://www.freeclaim.co.uk
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