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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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4 deaths on UK farms in a fortnight

The HSE in the UK has said that more must be done to improve farm safety after being notified of four deaths on farms in just over a fortnight.

Britain’s workplace regulator has become aware of incidents, including a three-year-old boy’s death in Wales and a suspected cattle trampling in Marshfield.

There has also been a report of a separate incident of cattle attacking members of the public.

Deaths on UK farms 

  • July 27th 2021: A man died in an apparent fall from height at a farm in Angus, Scotland.
  • August 3rd, 2021: A three-year-old boy died following a collision with a vehicle at a farm in Carmarthenshire, South Wales.
  • August 9th, 2021: A man died in a crushing incident involving a ramp falling from a truck at a farm in Hampshire.
  • Also, August 10th, 2021: A man was found with fatal injuries and surrounded by cattle at a field in Marshfield.

The incidents come just three weeks after Farm Safety Week.

Data from the HSE show that agriculture has the worst rate of fatal injuries of all the major industrial sectors in the UK.

It is around 20 times higher than the average five-year annual rate across all industries.

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Most injuries or deaths are ‘predictable and preventable’

HSE’s acting head of agriculture, Adrian Hodkinson, said:

“While we must respect the ongoing investigations following these tragic incidents, most injuries or deaths that we have historically seen on farms have been both predictable and preventable.”

“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.”

“At this time of year, we have additional factors such as the school holidays and higher numbers of members of the public enjoying the summer weather and walking along public footpaths through fields with cattle.”

“But we ask that farmers, farmworkers and farming contractors take the right steps to stop these incidents.”

“At this time of year, it is important to manage risk from livestock and, with harvest well underway, to work safely with farm machinery.”

Farm safety tips 

He said the fatality rate within the sector is high, but farmers can take simple measures to reduce risk.

He outlined that these include:

  • Ensuring to switch off the power to vehicles or machinery before attempting to carry out repairs;
  • Keeping people away from moving vehicles;
  • Ensuring 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.”

Chair of Farm Safety Partnership England, Stuart Roberts, said: “The number of deaths on farmland is deeply upsetting.”

“The fact remains that there have been four deaths in the last two weeks alone – that is four too many.”

“Every farmer has a responsibility to make safety their number one priority, especially as we enter the height of the school holidays with more families visiting the countryside.”

“A lot of accidents are, tragically, easily avoided. There are some relatively simple and inexpensive changes we can all implement, starting with always remembering to assess risks.”

“We also need to ensure all of us wear helmets on quadbikes, check machinery regularly and implement the safe stop procedure every time we leave the cab.”

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