According to a recent statement by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), more must be done to improve farm safety and reduce serious accidents on farms. This statement came after the HSE were notified of four fatalities on farms in just over two weeks.
The incidents come just three weeks after Farm Safety Week, when HSE issued its Fatal injuries in agriculture, forestry and fishing in Great Britain 2020/21 report highlighting the high fatality rate in the industry. The figures showed that agriculture has the worst rate of fatal injuries of all the major industrial sectors, around 20 times higher than the average five-year annual rate across all industries.
HSE’s acting head of agriculture said: “While we must respect the ongoing investigations following these tragic incidents, most injuries or deaths that we’ve historically seen on farms have been both predictable and preventable. We ask that farmers, farm workers and farming contractors take the right steps to stop these incidents. At this time of year, it’s important to manage risk from livestock and, with harvest well underway, to work safely with farm machinery.”
He added: “The fatality rate within the sector is high, but there are simple measures workers can take to reduce risk including making sure to switch off the power to vehicles or machinery before attempting to carry out repairs, keeping people away from moving vehicles; and ensuring dairy bulls, and cows with calves are not in fields with public footpaths.
Common Causes of Serious Accidents on Farms
The most common causes of serious accidents on farms are:
- struck by moving vehicles
- killed by an animal
- struck by an object
- falling from height, and
- contact with moving machinery.
There are also risks of farm injury to workers when it comes to enclosed spaces. These include slurry pits, silos, and fuel storage tanks. Working in these spaces can cause drowning, asphyxiation, or exposure to toxic gases.
Your employer is responsible for keeping you safe at work. On a farm, this is even more important, as there are a lot of things that can cause an injury. Your employer must make sure that they meet the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999). They do this by conducting risk assessments to ensure that they keep everyone safe. Agricultural employers must make sure that they do everything possible to avoid staff having farm related injuries whilst at work.
If you have a serious accident on a farm and have to take time off work, you should get agricultural sick pay, which is at least the agricultural minimum wage. This is, however, likely to be less than your usual wage.
If you are self-employed, you may still be able to make a claim. Farm workers are often self- employed on a contractor basis. This means, importantly, there is still usually a company that they are working for. If the business you are working for fails in their duty to keep you safe, then they may be responsible for your serious accident on a farm.
How We Can Help
Here at The Compensation Experts, we work with solicitors who have years of experience dealing with personal injury. This includes serious accidents on farms. Contact us today by filling in our contact form. Or call us on 01614138765 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.