East Midlands farming remains a dangerous industry

Richard Wade, of Lycetts risk management services
Richard Wade, of Lycetts risk management services

Agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries to work in with two people having been killed on East Midlands farms in the last year alone.

Figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have revealed that in 2016/17, agriculture had the highest rate of fatal injury - around 18 times higher than the ‘all industry’ rate.

Richard Wade, of Lycetts Risk Management Services, commented: “It is worrying that agriculture remains one of the most dangerous industries, with the high fatality rate far-exceeding other industries.”

In total, 30 people have been killed on British farms in the past year – making agriculture the riskiest industry to work in.

The main causes of death were ‘struck by vehicles’ (30 per cent), ‘trapped by something collapsing’ (20 per cent), ‘struck by an object’ (17 per cent), ‘contact with electricity’ (10 per cent), ‘falling from a height’ (seven per cent), and ‘injured by an animal’ (seven per cent).

Mr Wade continued: “HSE’s research shows that vehicle-related activities consistently lead to more deaths than any other category, and that half of the workers killed by something collapsing were taking part in activities involving vehicles and machinery.

“So, while some of these deaths have been the result of freak accidents, many could have been prevented. Although this is a sad fact, this gives us hope that, with better practice on farms and safer use of machinery, incidents like this could become rarer.

“It is also promising to see that, although the fatal injury rate for agriculture has shown no clear trend over the past 35 years, there are signs of improvement over the past five years.

“Hopefully this is down to farmers being more vigilant about safety and risk assessments – but we still have a way to go.”

Agriculture has a 7.61 fatal injury rate per 100,000 workers – six times that of the construction sector.

While 27 of the past year’s deaths involved workers, three were members of the public.

In the East Midlands, one fatality was a 61-year-old self-employed contractor who was killed when struck by a precast concrete panel fell from a telehandler.

The other was an 18-year-old farm worker, who was killed when his tipping trailer hit an overhead power line as it was being elevated. He climbed out of the tractor cab and was electrocuted.