There is danger everywhere - machinery, animals, vehicles, electrocution and slurry pits to name a few common hazards. Over the past 5 years there have been 161 deaths on UK farms.
The number one cause of death on farms is vehicles. Farm vehicles have played a part in 48 fatalities in the past 5 years as well as hundreds of injuries.
Last month the HSE launched a safety campaign to address this issue and try to reduce these alarming numbers:
Work Right Agriculture - Work Right to keep Britain safe
The HSE say that there are three pieces to the "farm safety jigsaw" which all need to come together to help keep farms safe:
- Operating a safe farm – segregate vehicles and pedestrians with clearly marked routes and walkways, use barriers and posts in heavy traffic areas, use clear signage, good lighting and hi-vis clothing
- Maintaining a safe vehicle – regular checks of brakes and other safety-critical items such as tyres, mirrors and seat-belts
- Being a safe driver – follow the "safe stop" routine before getting out of a vehicle, wear a seatbelt, ensure all drivers are trained, think visibility when carrying out manoeuvres and make sure there are no pedestrians in blind spots.
If one of these "pieces" is missing then the risks of an accident will increase.
The new campaign builds on HSE advice available through their website on driver training, vehicle maintenance and working with vehicles. The aim is simple: to make 2023 a safer year for farmers by working together with the industry to prevent accidents and injuries. They are urging farmers to think about the three pieces of the farm safety jigsaw. There are videos on the new website to help illustrate their advice.
We have a specialist regulatory team at DWF dealing with all types of agricultural incidents. We represent farmers who are the subject of police or HSE investigations following fatal accidents on farms, many of which involve vehicles. In the past three years, we have dealt with fatal or serious injury accidents caused by or contributed to by the lack of segregation of vehicles and pedestrians, failure to use a handbrake and the failure of poorly maintained brakes.
If you require any further information regarding the above, then please contact David.Chant@dwf.law or Simon.Belfield@dwf.law.