The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a safety plea to farmers after four fatal incidents on British farms in the past fortnight.
The safety regulator is calling on farmers, crofters and everyone working in the agricultural industry to make safety a priority.
It comes as four fatalities have been reported on British farms, including a man dying on an Angus farm on July 27 due to an apparent fall from height, and a three-year-old boy dying after a collision with a vehicle at a farm in south Wales on August 3.
Local police, in conjunction with HSE, are also carrying out investigations after a man died in a crushing incident involving a ramp falling from a truck at a farm in Hampshire on August 9, and a man was also found with fatal injuries surrounded by cattle at a field in Marshfield, South Gloucestershire.
“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,” said HSE’s acting head of agriculture, Adrian Hodkinson.
“Despite the efforts of the Farm Safety Partnership in particular, an industry-wide change in attitude is needed for farmers to take action to protect themselves and others to the well-known risks they face.”
He said figures released last month show the agriculture industry has the worst rate of fatal injuries of all the major industrial sectors in the UK – around 20 times higher than the average five-year annual rate across all industries.
“We ask that farmers, farm workers and farming contractors take the right steps to stop these incidents,” added Mr Hodkinson.
“The fatality rate within the sector is high, but there are simple measures workers can take to reduce risk including marking 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.
“We are urging people who work on farms to make safety a priority and help us to reduce the number of deaths and injuries in the industry.”
Safety advice is available on the HSE website at hse.gov.uk