Over 40 people have been killed on farms in the UK this year according to fatality notifications from the HSE, including nine in Wales since January 2020. The numbers bring home the harrowing reality just how dangerous farming can be and the Farmers’ Union of Wales is calling on the industry to make a change and start taking safety on farms seriously.
FUW Deputy President Ian Rickman said: “We need to let that statistic sink in. Over 40 people have died on farms across the UK in 2020. That’s over 40 families who have lost a loved one and who are going through trauma, stress and are no doubt experiencing anxiety as well. The figure is exceptionally higher than last year and we must make changes on our farms to drastically reduce the number of fatalities.”
The FUW, as part of the Wales Farm Safety Partnership, is committed to highlighting that there are serious Health and Safety challenges on farms and through its work with the group aims to help improve the situation and to save lives on farms.
All organisations in Wales who are signed up to the ‘On Farm Health and Safety Charter for Wales' are committed to: “Working together to make farming safer”.
“The truth is that farming is a hazardous industry. We work with potentially dangerous machinery, vehicles, chemicals, livestock, at height or near pits and silos. It is also pretty clear that as an industry we could do much better at keeping ourselves and family members safe from harm. The numbers confirm the most tragic of incidents, but don’t include the little accidents and near misses, which maybe should serve as a warning.
“So please, when you leave the house in the morning and say ‘see you later’ - mean it. Mean it right down to your very core. Pay attention to what you’re doing, slow down a bit, check that the brake is on and the engine off when you get off the tractor, and wear that helmet when you’re on the quad bike and be safe.
“Of course it’s easier said than done, especially on a busy farm where there is never enough time to sit back, but planning the job - whatever that may be - could well be a life-saver,” added Ian Rickman.