We can’t deny that on sunny days; where blue skies stretch over green fields and white fluffy clouds dapple the landscape, the appeal of working the land has a certain appeal… but looks can be deceiving! Farming is statistically one of the most dangerous occupations in the UK.
Farming is one of the UK’s oldest and proudest occupations and UK Agriculture estimates that there are around 300,000 active farms with an average size of around 57 hectares. These farms generate approximately 5,379 million to the British economy and therefore, farming is a massive part of British life and culture.
Now, farming businesses are also evolving to incorporate advanced tools and resources, which can be very beneficial for the industry. Tools like cattle management software and farming finances applications can highly improve farming conditions and may help farmers to grow better harvests all year around. However, despite all this, agriculture can still be a risky job, especially when it comes to taking care of livestock.
Recent data released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) last month shows that there were 33 workplace deaths in the agricultural industry in the past 12 months (between April 2014 – March 2015) – a 22% increase on 2013/14. Not only that, but there were an additional 4 deaths recorded where members of the public were killed when visiting a farm.
With the need to operate and manoeuvre large machinery, handle unpredictable livestock or hazardous chemicals, and working at height, farming is inherently a dangerous occupation. However with adequate safety precautions every death should be avoidable. Unfortunately, with a high turnover of staff due to the seasonality of the work and an occasional ‘get on with the job’ mentality, farming accidents continue to cause very serious injuries and too many fatalities.
What can be done to prevent death and injury?
Knowledge! If we know the dangers, we can help to prevent accidents occurring on our farms.
As well as farm owners and managers ensuring that their workers receive adequate training, stocking the Farm Supplies and raising awareness of the issues can help farm workers to understand the implications and importance of abiding by health and safety regulations.
The Farm Safety Foundation aims to promote safer workplace practices and procedures on farms across the UK and the 6th-10th July is National Farm Safety Week, giving the Foundation the opportunity to raise awareness and encourage better health and safety in the industry.
Where can I find farm safety tips?
If you have friends or family who work in the farming industry, show your support by promoting the Farm Safety Foundation’s new campaign. They have created a campaign called ‘Yellow Wellies’ with a dedicated website to give advice on safe farm practices for workers and visitors. Other organisations which are involved in the aftermath of farming accidents and fatalities can offer advice on what to do if you or a loved one is injured.
Remember – by raising awareness of the dangers we can help to prevent future accidents from occurring. Do your bit for farming and make sure you share statistics and safety tips with others!