Agricultural fatal injury rate in the UK was 20 times higher than the all-industry rate

Solutions to the ongoing farm safety dilemma in the UK were discussed at a webinar organised by Farmers’ Union of Wales Insurance Services Ltd. (FUWIS), as part of the virtual Royal Welsh Show and as worrying farm safety statistics were discussed.

Keynote speakers on the day included Tony Succamore, sales and operations director of FUW Insurance Services Ltd; Georgina Davis, business development manager (Midlands) at British Engineering Services; Health and Safety Executive representative Christopher Maher and farm safety expert and instructor Brian Rees.

Chairing the webinar was Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) deputy president and FUW Insurance Services Ltd. board member Ian Rickman.

Opening the event, Rickman said:

It saddens me to know that despite efforts to highlight the dangers on farms time and time again, we have still not seen a decrease in these figures.

“Together with our partners in the Wales Farm Safety Partnership, we are working on raising awareness and reducing the risk of harm faced by those in our industry.

“We have got used to hearing those kinds of statistics over the years but we need to keep putting that message out there and get an improvement on those figures.

“As farmers we are busy with silage and hay at the moment, but planning and jotting down a few thoughts on what the risks are could really help.”

41 fatalities in 2020

Outlining the latest statistics, Health and Safety Executive representative Christopher Maher told the audience that a total 41 fatalities were recorded in 2020/2021.

This included nine employees killed, 25 self-employed killed and seven members of the public killed – which is an increase from the 21 the year before.

“Agriculture by metric is one of the most – if not the most dangerous industries within the UK.

“In 2020/2021, the agricultural fatal injury rate in the UK was 20 times higher than the all-industry rate,” said Maher.

Welsh farming fatalities for 2020/2021 included seven farmers.

Four farmers were hit by a moving vehicle whilst another person was driving or when they left the vehicle to complete a task.

Two farmers, a father and son, were killed by a water buffalo and one farmer was killed when his ATV overturned.

Those are pretty sobering statistics. What we need to focus on is how we can improve those statistics and there are some things farmers can do,” Maher continued.

“Sadly, most of the deaths in this report could have been avoided using simple, low cost or cost-free measures.

“Tiredness and fatigue could be a factor and farmers should assess risks and plan accordingly.”