Farms safety alert after three deaths

Farmers are being urged to be careful after three deaths in the region last year.
Farmers are being urged to be careful after three deaths in the region last year.

An agricultural expert is urging farmers in the East Riding area to be vigilant after new figures revealed three people were killed on farms in Yorkshire and Humber in the past 12 months.

Figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that in 2016/17 agriculture had the highest rate of fatal injury – 18 times higher than the All Industry rate.

The three deaths were:

A 79-year-old farmer was killed when he was crushed and trapped in the gap between a seed drill and tractor.

A 47-year-old gamekeeper was killed when his quad bike overturned at night during rabbit shooting.

An 80-year-old farm employee was struck and run over in the farm yard by a telehandler moving bales.

Gerard Salvin, of Yorkshire-based farm insurance specialist Lycetts, said: “It is worrying that agriculture remains one of the most dangerous industries, with the high fatality rate far exceeding other industries.

“HSE’s research shows that vehicle-related activities consistently lead to more deaths than any other category, and that half of the workers killed by something collapsing were taking part in activities involving vehicles and machinery.

“So, while some of these deaths have been the result of freak accidents, many could have been prevented.

“Although this is a sad fact, this gives us hope that, with better practice on farms and safer use of machinery, incidents like this could become rarer.

“There is a danger that farmers who work for themselves harbour a perception that they do not need to carry out the necessary risk assessments or abide by the health and safety regulations, as they don’t have any employees.

“But, as the research shows, this can have devastating consequences.

“It may also be a case of farmers, due to economic constraints, are having to manage difficult and labour-heavy jobs by themselves or with limited resources – and are therefore putting themselves at increased risk.”