Farmers are being urged to take simple steps to save lives, injuries and money by guarding against preventable accidents.
Despite employing just 1.5% of the UK’s working population, or around 430,000 people, farming remains one of the most dangerous industries.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures show that around 15%-20% of deaths at work each year are agriculture-related.
The data shows that being hit by moving vehicles, falling from height, asphyxiation or drowning, being injured by an animal, electrocution and being trapping by falling,collapsing or overturning objectsare responsible for most on-farm deaths.
In addition to loss of life, the industry is also responsible for a high number of preventable injury accidents.
John Pieri of H&H Insurance Brokers, which operates across the North of England said: “Insurers have seen large increases in the number and value of agricultural claims in the last two years.
“We’ve heard reports of more than 650 incidents where the estimate or settlement was more than £350,000.
“Injuries and illness can ruin lives and businesses, but preventative solutions are often simple and cheap to put in place.”
Taking action to avoid accident and injury is key, both to on-farm safety and to reduce the personal and insurance costs associated with accidents.
Implementing better on-farm safety practices means being honest about failings and highlighting the areas where improvements can be made.
Communicating with staff and contractors is at the heart of this. It is vital everyone working on the farm is aware of potential hazards, risks and precautions to minimise the possibility of accidents.
Proper training, especially for dangerous work, should be carried out and putting in place a plan to look at and periodically review safe methods can help.
It is important to check that people are properly qualified to undertake certain jobs, such as using a chainsaw. Everyone working on the farm should be aware of their health and safety responsibilities and the consequences of failing to meet them.
John added: “By improving your farming practices, you are layingthe groundwork for a more sustainable business and can improve the productivity and morale of your workers.
“Keeping machinery well maintained not only reduces the risk of accident but also prolongs its working life. Plus, better management of health and safety means you are less likely to be hit by enforcement action and fines, which can damage the reputation of your business.
“In the longer term, you will also benefit from lower insurance premiums because you will be considered a better risk if you have a good safety track record.”