A total of 33 fatal injuries – including 29 farm worker deaths – were recorded on British farms over the last year, according to the latest official farm safety figures.

The sector continues to account for a large share of the annual fatality count – with more than one in five workplace accidents happening on a farm.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the rate is around 18 times higher than the all-industry rate.

The figures were released to mark the start of Farm Safety Week (July 16-20) HSE has announced its latest report for Great Britain 2017/2018.

  • Four members of the public were killed in 2017/18, two of which were children under the age of 16;
  • Farm Safety Week aims to reduce the number of accidents which continue to give farming the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK.

The new HSE stats for 2017/2018 reveal that three-quarters of the total number of agricultural workers who were killed this year were over the age of 60.

The main causes

The report also highlights that livestock was the main cause of fatal accidents among farm workers, accounting for almost a quarter (24%) of all fatalities.

  • Other causes included being struck by farm vehicles, such as tractors or trailers (18%);
  • Trapped by something collapsing (15%); and
  • Being struck by objects such as bales and tree branches (12%).

Most of the agricultural fatalities occurred in Yorkshire and the Humber (21%), followed by Wales (18%) and Scotland and the South West which each accounted for 15% of fatalities.

Farm Safety Week

Farm Safety Week is an initiative led by the Farm Safety Foundation and supported by Farm Safety Partnerships, the Health & Safety Executive, Health & Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and the Health & Safety Authority, Ireland.

Offering his support for the campaign, Farming Minister George Eustice said: “The farming industry is essential to our national economy – employing more than 340,000 people – and plays a vital role in producing the food that we all know and love.

“Initiatives, such as Farm Safety Week, are important in raising awareness of good workplace practice, and I encourage farmers across the UK to read this week’s case studies, articles and blogs to help understand how they can stay safe at work.”

From the HSE figures, it has been reported that four members of the public were killed in 2017/18, two of which were children under the age of 16.

Therefore, this year Farm Safety Week will also focus on the issue of child safety on farms.

Accidents on farms can be life-changing, both for those involved and their family. It is even more devastating when it involves a child, which is why the Farm Safety Foundation is encouraging farmers to be extra vigilant and take every precaution to make their farms safe for children.