Landowners' group warns on safety after report on fatalities on farms

North East and Yorkshire revealed as a blackspot region for farm deaths in HSE report

CLA North regional director Dorothy Fairburn
CLA North regional director Dorothy Fairburn

Farmers and landowners in the North East are being urged to put safety first after the region was revealed to be a blackspot for fatalities.

The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, made the appeal following news that 11 of the country’s 31 fatal accidents in farming and associated rural industries between April 2013 and March 2014 took place in the North East and Yorkshire.

The figures, published by the Health & Safety Executive, show no other region in the UK had such a high incidence of fatalities, with Scotland coming in second highest at seven and Wales registering the lowest death toll of one.

CLA North regional director Dorothy Fairburn said: “This figure is simply not acceptable. Behind each one of these deaths is a family tragedy, many of which could have been avoided with more care and attention to safety procedures.

“As in previous years, large farm machinery such as tractors, ploughs and slurry tankers were responsible for more deaths than any other cause.

“We are asking all of our members to be extra careful and vigilant, particularly when working with farm machinery, to ensure their families are not put through the hell of losing a loved one this Christmas.”

Of the 31 deaths throughout the period - six less than in the previous year - 32% were caused by overturning vehicles or through people being struck by moving vehicles.

Injuries caused by animals accounted for a 23% and falling from a height 16%.

The North East cases highlighted by the HSE include that of a 53-year-old farm worker hit by a runaway tractor and muck spreader.

In another incident, a self-employed cattle farmer was attacked by a cow, which charged him, knocking him against a wall, before butting him in his chest and head. A third case involved a 42-year-old who was struck by a section of tree trunk from a tree he was helping to fell.

The CLA, which has a 34,000-strong membership, supports landowners by advising them on how best to protect and maximise their land assets.

Its members own approximately half the rural land in England and Wales.

The HSE report defines the agriculture sector as comprising farming, horticulture, forestry, fish farming, and other associated land-based industries such as arboriculture.

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