Tuesday, April 16, 2024
8.4 C
Galway
HomeBeefOpinion: Children must not be in the farm workplace
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Opinion: Children must not be in the farm workplace

In this article, Sue Thompson, Head of Agriculture, Health & Safety Executive outlines the need for a cultural change for farm safety.

As Britain’s workplace regulator, we are calling for farmers to ‘think differently about safety’.

The call for a cultural shift away from poor behaviours comes as the rate of fatal injuries in the sector remains one of the highest of all major industries.

It is time to think differently and not tolerate this any longer. Children must not be in the farm workplace.

We need everyone to play their part to improve the culture and change the poor behaviours we see far too frequently.

I encourage everyone to think differently about safety, do things the right way and have the courage to ‘call out’ poor practices whenever they are seen.

Agriculture will continue to be a priority sector for HSE. We are committed to making workplaces safer and healthier and holding employers to account for their actions, as part of our mission to protect people and places.

Provisional figures for the UK for April 1st, 2022, to March 31st, 2023, show that of the 27 people killed – 21 were workers with the three-year-old child among six members of the public to lose their lives.

Being killed by an animal (cattle) is the major cause of death in 2022-23.

Meanwhile, vehicle-related incidents are the major cause when looking at the 5-year average.

Although, the number of fatal injuries to workers in the agricultural sector has fallen by around half since the early 1980s, the rate of fatalities, which is based on the number of people at work in the sector, has remained high with little change.

The worker fatal injury rate is 21-times higher than the average five-year annual rate across all industries.

Causes

The most common causes of death in agriculture have not changed for many years.

This year is no different. The five most common causes of work-related death in agriculture are:

  • Being crushed or trampled by animals, usually cattle;
  • Falling from height;
  • Being struck by a moving vehicle;
  • Coming into contact with machinery, during operation or maintenance;
  • Being struck by an object, such as bales or trees.

Older workers, those aged 65 and older, accounted for a third of all worker fatalities.

It is disappointing that yet again so many farming families and communities are left devastated when their loved ones are killed or suffer life-changing illnesses caused by work.

Highest of any sector

The number of fatalities remains stubbornly high and the rate of workplace fatal injury in agriculture still remains the highest of any sector.

Agriculture is a vital part of the economy, and it is not acceptable that it continues to fall short when it comes to managing risk in the workplace.

It is all the more tragic that we still see children killed by farming activities.

Awareness of the hazards and health risks and legal requirements has never been higher. It is great that Farm Safety Week brings the issue into focus.

But, it is regrettable that we are not yet seeing the widespread changes in attitude towards safety and the improvements in behaviour that will reduce the number of people injured or killed.

Everyone in agriculture has a role to play in making the changes we all want to see.

It is only with the support and commitment of each and every farmer that we will see improvement.  Together, we can make farming healthier and safer.

See more farming news on www.thatsfarming.com

- Advertisment -

Most Popular