Spot inspections rise as farm deaths increase again

Farmers are being urged to put in place effective safety procedures to reduce risk of accidents on farm, as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) continues to reintroduce a greater number of spot inspections across the country.

Figures released last month by the HSE revealed that agriculture has a fatality rate some 16 times higher than the average across all industries respectively, per 100,000 workers. The number of farm deaths rose from 27 up to 29 in the same period between 2016/17 and 2017/18.

Fatal injury rates for the self-employed is more than double that for employees, and despite a shift in attitudes, agriculture has averaged 44% of fatal injuries by self-employed workers from 2013/14 to 2017/18.

In the last year, there has been a steady increase in HSE farm visits and spot inspections, and farmers should be prepared to demonstrate best practice.

“A farm is a working environment, and everyone on-site, including family, workers and visitors can be vulnerable to risk. If a straw bale lands on a third-party visitor to the farm, for example, it will remain the farmer’s responsibility,” said Georgie Spencer, insurance advisor at Farmers & Mercantile.

She added: “Having in place clear and simple procedures will not only engender a safer working environment, but also demonstrate a commitment to best-practice in the event of an incident or claim.”


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