Farming Major Injuries Increase in Britain

Serious injuries rose by 40 percent in the past three years, according to the Health and Safety Executive.

Serious injuries on British farms have risen by 40 percent in the past three years, erasing what had been a improving safety climate in that sector, the Health and Safety Executive said as it released statistics for injuries and fatalities from April 2009 to March 2010. Reported major injuries such as broken bones or amputations increased to 640 from 599 in the previous year.

Farming fatalities in 2009 totaled 38, slightly above the average of 37 for the previous five years but up sharply from 25 in 2008. British farms' fatality rate in 2009-2010, 8 per 100,000 workers, makes it Britain's most dangerous industry.

"The agricultural community has responded magnificently to our Make the Promise campaign to improve safety in farming, and we've seen everyone from industry leaders like the National Farmers Unions for England, Scotland and Wales to individual farmers getting behind the initiative," said Sandy Blair, HSE's Board champion for agriculture. "But these figures show the reality of what we are dealing with: Deaths have returned to previous levels and serious injuries are still steadily increasing. This isn't about statistics, it is about the farming community itself being able to take action to prevent these serious, life-changing, or life-ending injuries. If we're going to see sustainable change, it needs to be led from within farming itself. More worrying is the estimate that only around 30 per cent of agricultural injuries are reported."

There were 152 workplace fatalities in Britain for 2009-2010 overall, down from 179 the previous year and the lowest rate yet, 2.1 deaths per 100,000 workers. While agriculture represents only 1.5 percent of the British working population, it accounted for one of every four work-related deaths last year.

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