“Over the last 35 years the agricultural industry has demonstrated a fatal injury rate of around 20 times the average. Quite simply, farm workers are risking their lives just by going to work, which is completely unacceptable. What is particularly heart-breaking are the numbers of preventable deaths on farms that are as a result of a fall from height. From 2013-18 falls from height were the third most common cause of deaths in the agricultural sector, and in 2018 alone three farm workers lost their lives as a result of Working at Height unsafely. Our own experience in the sector is that farmers are still lacking the drive and equipment to make Working at Height a safe activity for personnel.
“Unfortunately, agriculture is an industry where complacency regarding Working at Height still pervades. It’s often a case of locking the barn door once the horse has bolted. Only after an incident are reactive actions taken to prevent another accident. The reasons for this laissez faire approach are twofold. Firstly farming is still a traditional, generational industry which brings with it a particular culture. Add to this that farming is an extremely cost-conscious sector and this leads to a clouded view of the importance of investing in preventative safety measures.
“Farm Safety Week is an important initiative that helps focus the industry on the work that needs to be done to raise the profile of safety issues. We wholeheartedly support efforts behind the campaign. Unfortunately, however this is a sector that is notoriously difficult to reach with such messaging and it will require further investment and innovation from government, with the input and expertise of charities and industry leaders to ensure that messages are not just heard but acted on. We believe that a more proactive involvement from the Health and Safety Executive, ensuring the industry are compliant with regulations, will aid in reducing the number of personnel suffering from life changing injuries, as well as the number of fatal accidents occurring on farms.”