With 33 work-related high risk farming injuries recorded in 2011, the agriculture industry is one of the most dangerous to work in across the UK.
In Wales, farmers account for just 3% of the working population but fatalities in the sector are on an upward trend. Three farm workers in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Powys died in 2010-11, up from two the previous year and one the year before that.
Overall in the UK, agriculture accounts for one in five British workplace deaths, which is a shocking figure considering that farmers make up such a small percentage of the working population.
Higher demand, higher accident rate?
There is currently “keen farmer competition for extra land”, with Andrew Wallace from Cheshire-based auctioneers Wright Manley reporting that a 13.5 acre block of land suitable for growing potatoes near Antrobus, Northwich, went for in excess of £12,000 an acre.
The rising cost of farmland across the county reflects rising demand, and with thousands of acres of farmland in North Wales and Cheshire alone, it’s important to be aware of the risks. Knowledge is the best form of prevention, so with this in mind here are some of the most common work-related farming accidents that can lead to serious injuries.
Day to day farming tasks often require the use of heavy machinery, which can be very dangerous especially when workers are not properly trained. Limbs can be pulled into machines and exposed pieces of machinery such as blades and transmission belts can be hazardous.
Tractors, forklift trucks, combine harvesters and 4×4 vehicles are common sights on farms but can lead to collisions, either between vehicles, with another object, with buildings or with people.
Dangerous animals or livestock
Livestock animals are considered to be domesticated but that’s not to say they can’t cause serious injuries to members of staff; in fact, dangerous livestock account for 8% of all farm-related deaths. Due to their size and weight, cattle can cause serious and even fatal injuries.
Chemicals and hazardous substances
Asbestos dust released from walls and roofs when repairing or demolishing farm buildings can be lethal, so great care must be taken to safeguard workers from this substance. Pesticides and chemicals can also cause serious illness if not handled correctly.
If your employer has breached their duty of care, for example by failing to provide a safe working environment, suitable training and appropriate safety equipment, and you sustained an injury as a result, contact us for advice about making a claim for compensation on your behalf.