Northumberland farmers urged to ‘stop and think twice’ following surge in agricultural deaths

Farmers are being urged to think twice following a surge in fatalities.Farmers are being urged to think twice following a surge in fatalities.
Farmers are being urged to think twice following a surge in fatalities.
Rural risk specialists are urging Northumberland farmers to ‘stop and think twice’ following a surge in agricultural deaths – and issued a stark warning for those who are failing to protect their most important asset.

Figures published by the Health and Safety Executive revealed that 41 people in the UK were killed as a result of farming and other agriculture-related activities in 2020/21 – almost double the number of deaths in the previous year.

One of the deaths took place in Northumberland – a 72-year-old man was trampled and killed by cattle in a field. He was walking on a public footpath when he was attacked.

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While the number of people killed fluctuates each year, the five most common causes of fatal injuries over the last five years remain – being struck by moving vehicles, killed by an animal, struck by an object, falling from height and contact with moving machinery.

“Fatal injury rates in agriculture remain notoriously high, earning it the unenviable reputation as the riskiest industry sector,” said Alex Cormack, of Lycetts Risk Management Services.

“Farmers face a myriad of potential hazards, from contact with machinery and vehicles, chemicals, and livestock, to working at a height, and the demanding, solitary and relentless work associated with agriculture heightens farmers’ exposure to risk.

“A split-second decision can mean the difference between life and death, so it is of critical importance that farmers stop, think twice and treat every task with risk management and health and safety at the forefront of their minds.”

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