FARMING is one of the most dangerous ways to make a living in Britain, says the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which has launched a safety campaign to help protect rural workers.
‘Make the promise: Come Home Safe’ is the slogan for the hard-hitting campaign from the HSE.
It is targeting farmers and their families, including grandparents and children, with the individual stories behind the statistics and the devastation caused to bereaved families.
This month the HSE is sending ‘Promise Packs’ to about 70,000 British farmers.
The packs contain all the advise they need to make good on their symbolic promise to come home safe.
Farmers can also send in a form contained within the pack or call 0800 1412805 to request a new How Lives are Lost on British Farms booklet.
The HSE’s agriculture ‘champion’, Judith Donovan, says: “This summarises recent fatal accidents and is designed to help farmers avoid making the same mistakes.
“HSE is mounting this campaign because on average over 45 deaths, year after year, occur on British farms.
“We’d like to highlight that this is a partnership to keep farmers safe, not HSE dictating the terms.”
Over the last 10 years deaths on farms have been caused by the same activities.
Extra care must be taken when working with vehicles and machinery, on roofs and with livestock, and this campaign aims to remind farmers of what they can do to reduce the risks.
In 2007/2008, there were 42 deaths on farms. Less than 1.5% of the working population is employed in agriculture yet the sector is responsible for 15-20% of fatalities.
Two-thirds (64%) of all deaths in farming are self-employed farmers. Within this group, older farmers are the most at risk, accounting for more than half (53%) of deaths to the self-employed.
The three main causes of deaths to agricultural workers in the last 10 years were:
Transport – 24%
Falls from height, especially roofs – 17%
Being struck by moving or falling objects – 15%