The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently published their annual report on injuries and fatalities in the workplace. Titled, “The Workplace Fatal Injuries in Great Britain 2018 Report,” it looks closely at a number of sectors, including agriculture.
In total, there were 144 workers killed in workplace incidents in 2017-2018. This is a slight increase on the previous year when 133 people died in workplace incidents but, in statistical terms, the number has stayed consistent in recent years.
Construction may be viewed as the most dangerous of the sectors examined as there were 38 workplace incident deaths last year in this sector alone compared to 29 in the agriculture sector. However, construction is a bigger employer than agriculture so a better basis of comparison is to look at injury rates per 100,000 employees over the past few years. This figure actually shows that agriculture had the poorest performance of all sectors examined.
There are a number of factors that contribute to agriculture’s poor performance. These include the presence of children and members of the public in the workplace, working with large machinery, an older workforce, working with the elements. Another factor, is poor attitudes and behaviours in the industry towards safety.
The vast majority of fatal injuries in the agriculture sector were avoidable. As an example, every year farmers are run over by their own vehicles. By simply following the Safe Stop procedure, these deaths could be prevented. Every time a driver leaves the cab they should ensure that:
- The handbrake is on
- The controls are in neutral
- The keys are removed to prevent someone else starting and driving the vehicle
The good news for us is that Britain has one of the lowest rates of fatal injuries in the workplace across the EU. In 2015, the rate per 100,000 employed was 0.51 in Great Britain, compared to 0.82 in Italy, 0.74 in Germany and a staggering 3.62 in France. Overall, in terms of safety, the UK is a fantastic place to work.
Farm Safety Week was launched last month and aimed to encourage everyone in the agriculture industry to make small changes to improve safety in their farms. Do something today to improve safety in your workplace: whether it’s tidying up the yard, wearing a high vis jacket, following Safe Stop or reviewing your entire farm’s health & safety protocols. We can all do our bit to make the industry we work in safer for everyone.
A full copy of The Workplace Fatal Injuries in Great Britain 2018 Report is available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/pdf/fatalinjuries.pdf