Agriculture is a dangerous industry.
We ranked farmers, fishermen and forestry work as the second most dangerous type of job you can get in Britain in our blog The UK’s Top 5 Most Dangerous Jobs. It was only because construction workers make up a bigger proportion of the UK workforce that stopped agricultural work from being number one on the list of dangerous jobs in the UK.
According to International Labour Organization, over half of the workplace fatalities in the world happen in the agricultural sector. In a single year (2012/13) agriculture accounted for a fifth of the UK’s fatal accidents at work. In the most recently recorded year (2014/15), agriculture had 37 fatal accidents.
People working in agriculture die from a variety of workplace accidents. We hope that by listing the biggest killers in agriculture it will spread awareness of the risks that these types of jobs hold and that this will decrease the number of fatal accidents.
What are the Biggest Killers in the Agriculture Industry?
A third of farm-related deaths involve farming equipment. When using these machines, failure to follow a safe system of work can be deadly.
Moving parts make for dangerous machines with the capacity to kill. Examples you should be vigilant with include agricultural mowers, rotary flail hedge cutters, potato harvesters and big round balers.
Farmers risk being involved in road traffic accidents as they drive farming vehicles around. Plus farm workers could get run over by vehicles such as tractors, combine harvesters, broadcast seeders and cultivators.
Vehicles need to be properly maintained and drivers fully trained. When using heavy machinery there is the danger of being crushed - this can sometimes prove fatal. Slater and Gordon Lawyers successfully settled a claim for a farm worker who crushed their thumb working on a feeding auger, used to feed cattle. To find out how much compensation our client was awarded see our case study on injured farm worker.
Working closely with large animals can be dangerous. Animals can be unpredictable. There is a risk of being kicked, trampled or gored.
Prolonged exposure to pesticides and other chemicals can be lethal. However, with some extreme cases, direct exposure to chemicals can lead to near instant death.
Whenever using chemicals in agriculture you should do so safely. This extends to careful transportation, storage and disposal too. Avoid inhaling vapour from chemicals, absorbing them through your skin and obviously swallowing them. If you were to do so it could result in chemical burns, diseases of the lungs, liver or kidneys and you could end up poisoning yourself.
Falling From Height
Working at height is an ever-present danger on farms. Falling from or off machines and vehicles is a common danger, although more frequently serious fall from height accidents involve buildings. They commonly occur when maintenance is being carried out on top of farm structures such as crop stores or agricultural buildings. About half the fall from height accidents in agriculture are when workers fall through fragile surfaces.
If you have to complete work at height make sure you plan the work, even if it will only take a couple of minutes. Consider what equipment you are using. Ask yourself if it is appropriate for the task at hand. Ensure the equipment has been well maintained. Finally, remember that only those who have had sufficient training should use the equipment and workers with the right level of experience and supervision should be the ones to carry out work at height.
If your family member has had a fatal accident at work, or if you have suffered a serious injury at work you mustn’t suffer in silence.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK offer a free consultation and can provide you with immediate legal representation. Call freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we will call you back.