Farming accidents have been in the news. At the weekend Country File, a BBC TV programme, featured a long section on the accident record of the farming industry. A surprising fact is that although agriculture employs just 2% of the UK workforce it accounts for 20% of serious industrial injuries and deaths. According to the programme, almost one per week. This has hardly improved over the last 20 years. A terrible record compared to other industries such as construction, where serious accidents have halved over the same period.
The TV programme covered a number of risk areas. Such as falling from roofs or getting trapped in machinery. Cases related to the waste industry have caused by slurry pits. Or more precisely death caused by the poisonous gases given off. One high profile slurry pit death involved a famous Irish rugby player. The Health and Safety Executive of Northern Ireland has reported almost a death per month from similar accidents. And that is within a population of just 1.6 million.
Accidents do happen, in spite of safety precautions. Of course not all accidents are life threatening. Many may mean a loss of work or income. A specialist personal accident insurance has created a policy specifically aimed at the agriculture industry.
The Health and Safety ExecuTive
The HSE is responsible for industrial safety. They have recently started a programme of working with the National Farmers Union to tackle the problem. This is focussing on changing attitudes towards working with farming machinery, working at heights and working outside. A related issue is that farm workers often work alone. This means that when an accident occurs help often takes some time before it arrives.