Farmer put safety first

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Union chiefs are urging farmers to put safety first following the release of Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics revealing that 37 people died on Britain’s farms last year.

Four of those killed were members of the public, but farmers and other agriculture workers accounted for the vast majority of that death toll.

The new figures show that the five-year average for fatalities at work in agriculture has not improved, prompting the National Farmers’ Union and other industry organisations to join forces to offer advice on avoiding accidents as part of this year’s Farm Safety Week, ending tomorrow.

Their safety message is part of a long-term initiative to try to reverse that trend and make agriculture a safer sector to work in.

National Farmers’ Union vice-president and Farm Safety Partnership chairman Guy Smith said: “The stagnant nature of these figures underlines the importance of the industry working to ensure the number of fatalities in our sector falls, and the NFU is playing a leading role in this.

“The Farm Safety Partnership, a collaboration of 48 organisations, is committed to raising awareness of potential risks and promoting safe practices on farms.

“From the statistics, farming has the poorest record of any occupation in the UK.

“We need to take responsibility and wake up to the risks around us and do something about making our workplaces safer.

“The Farm Safety Week tagline says it all – ‘don’t learn safety by accident’.”