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Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
October 26, 2011

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Causes of fatal farming incidents “remain stubbornly the same”

Agriculture accounted for almost two thirds of workplace deaths in Scotland last year, according to figures from the HSE, prompting the regulator to work closely with the industry and unions to tackle the causes.

Of the 15 workplace fatalities that occurred between April 2010 and March 2011, nine were in farming. Six of the fatal incidents involving workers on Scotland’s farms were linked to workplace-transport issues, such as being hit by a moving vehicle, being trapped in an overturned vehicle, and being injured in a quad-bike incident.

Head of HSE in Scotland Paul Stollard said: “Agriculture is still one of the most dangerous professions in Britain and the Scottish fatality statistics, sadly, support this fact. What is most frustrating is that the causes of incidents remain stubbornly the same, such as falls from height and overturned vehicles.

“These incidents can be avoided, often through simple, low-cost steps. That’s why we are continuing our programme of Safety and Health Awareness Days and why we are committing to working closely with the industry and regulatory partners. Everyone has a role to play in reducing death and injury.”

At 9.6 per 100,000, the sector has the highest five-year average rate of fatal injury across the whole of Great Britain, while the corresponding rate for all workers is 0.7 per 100,000.

Scotland’s Rural affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead remarked: ”Agriculture is a vital industry to Scotland and one we can rightly be proud of; however, it can also be hazardous – too many farmers pay the ultimate price to produce the nation’s food. I urge Scotland’s farmers and crofters to take heed of these tragedies in their day-to-day working.”

Scotland president of the National Farming Union (NFU) Nigel Miller said: “The dangers and risks associated with farming are a permanent part of everyday life on a farm and will not change. However, what must change is the way those working in the industry regard the health and safety of themselves, their family and their workers.

“We are committed to working with government and agencies to help all those who live and work on Scottish farms to reach the stage where safe practice is second nature.”

To view the HSE’s safety advice on workplace transport in agriculture, go to: http://www.hse.gov.uk/agriculture/topics/transport.htm

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