farm tractor

Campaign Puts UK Agricultural Safety in Spotlight in 2009

Agriculture is one of Great Britain’s most dangerous industries, according to the latest statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive. They show 39 workers died in 2007-08 and 455 in the past decade. The number of deaths in the sector has remained consistently high, with agriculture employing less than 1.5 percent of the total population but contributing 15 to 20 percent of all work fatalities, the agency said.

"It is simply unacceptable that, almost every week, someone dies in a needless farm accident. These accidents don't just destroy lives; they destroy whole families, and often their farms, too," said Judith Donovan, a non-executive HSE board member. "They continue to happen, year after year after year -- and for this reason, HSE is launching a new campaign in January 2009 to help encourage farmers to take extra care to stay safe."

The major causes of deaths in British agriculture in 2007/2008, and in prior years, were these:

  • 34 percent of the deaths overturning vehicles or being struck by vehicles
  • 21 percent resulted from a moving or falling object
  • 14 percent involved falls
  • 7 percent were fatal injuries caused by an animal

The winter months are a particularly dangerous period for UK farming because of higher risks because of darkness, poor weather, and cattle being indoors. "The latest statistics highlight hat farming is dangerous, and now in these difficult financial times, farmers might be tempted to take risks to save money by cutting back on help or taking shortcuts. We want to make farmers, their families, and their helpers to stop and think how they can be aware of the dangers around them," Donovan said.

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