Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Farmers urged to stay safe this harvest

July 31, 2017 by  
Filed under News & Business

Farmers and farm workers are being urged to stay safe this harvest following accident statistics showing that agricultural has a fatality rate 18 times higher than the industry average.

Health and Safety Executive workplace fatality statistics released last month show 27 people died in farm-related accidents last year – two fewer than the previous 12 months but still far higher than the all-industry UK average.

Farming, forestry and horticulture employ about 1% of the national workforce but the risk of falling from heights or being struck by a falling object account for nearly 30% of all farming fatalities, said Stephanie Berkeley from the Farm Safety Foundation.

Transporting and stacking large hay bales has, over recent years, resulted in numerous injuries to farm workers – and the death of some operators using machinery or close to bales being stacked or moved using heavy equipment.

Ms Berkeley said “Most accidents of this type happen either because the work is not properly planned, the risks are not recognised, proper precautions are not taken, or the equipment used is either defective, not appropriate, or used incorrectly.”

Jack Fisher, a young farmer from Norwich and former student at Easton & Otley College, lost his father Peter on 11 February this year when the 54 year old suffered a tragic accident while he was unstrapping a load of straw on his lorry.

A stack of four Heston bales collapsed off the side of the lorry while he was rolling up a strap beside them. He was crushed by the impact and, unfortunately, died at the scene – a tragic reminder that farming can be dangerous no matter how experienced you are.

“Dad was a very experienced and heavily qualified driver who had been doing this job for many years” said Jack, who can barely bring himself to talk about his father in the past tense. “Unless you’ve lost someone close, it’s impossible to describe how this feels.”

Friends and family have helped raised just over £2,600 for the Farm Safety Foundation to help the charity deliver practical training for the next generation of farmers and hopefully improve the poor safety record in agriculture.

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