British farmers urged to take action after rise in fatalities on farms


British farmers are being urged to take steps to prevent accidents and injuries on farms following a sharp rise in fatalities from agricultural incidents over the past year.

As a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report revealed 41 people had lost their lives in agriculture during the last year, H&H Insurance Brokers, which specialises in farm and rural insurance, says health and safety must be a top priority for anyone working in the farming industry.

Paul Graham, Managing Director at H&H Insurance Brokers, which operates across the North of England, the Scottish Borders and Wales, said: “Farmers and those working in the agricultural sector are particularly exposed to the risk of serious injury or worse, simply because of the nature of their work.

“They work long hours and are outside all-year-round, working with tractors, machinery, livestock and chemicals, and may well be working alone.

“Risk shouldn’t be an inevitable part of the job. By removing or managing risk, farmers can better protect themselves, their families, their employees, and members of the public from potential life-changing injuries.”

According to new data published in the annual HSE report into fatal injuries in agriculture, forestry and fishing, the number of people who lost their lives in agricultural incidents from April 2020 to the end of March 2021 almost doubled to 41, compared to 21 the previous year. The 2020/2021 figure includes 34 workers and seven members of the public.

The HSE report was published at the start of Farm Safety Week, an annual event run by the Farm Safety Foundation, which aims to raise awareness of the injury risks faced by farmers.

To help address health and safety issues on farms, Paul said H&H Insurance Brokers had set up a support service to help farmers to minimise farming accidents.

H&H Safety, which is in partnership with health and safety specialists IRM Safety, aims to help farmers create a safer working environment.

Paul said: “Our aim is to make implementing and following health and safety measures on the farm as straightforward as possible.

“Following industry working practices and standards can significantly reduce the number of accidents in your business which will help keep everyone safe.

“Like any business, farmers are employers and responsible for the training and the health and safety of their employees, and for the safety, maintenance and insurance of their equipment. Health and safety should be regarded as important as any other aspect of running a farm.

“It’s worth keeping in mind that having robust health and safety practices in place can also be cost effective by helping to reduce insurance premium increases for your business.”