New health and safety figures show farming ‘is the riskiest industry to work in’

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An agricultural expert is urging farmers to be vigilant after new figures show three people were killed on farms in the East of England in just 12 months.

Figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have revealed that in 2016/17, agriculture had the highest rate of fatal injury, around 18 times higher than the all industry rate.

In total, 30 people have been killed on British farms in the past year – making agriculture the riskiest industry to work in.

The main causes of death were ‘struck by vehicles’ (30 per cent), ‘trapped by something collapsing’ (20 per cent), ‘struck by an object’ (17 per cent), ‘contact with electricity’ (10 per cent), ‘falling from a height’ (7 per cent), and ‘injured by an animal’ (7 per cent).

Charles Foster, of Norfolk-based farm insurance specialist Lycetts, said: “It is worrying that agriculture remains one of the most dangerous industries, with the high fatality rate far-exceeding other industries.

“HSE’s research shows that vehicle-related activities consistently lead to more deaths than any other category, and that half of the workers killed by something collapsing were taking part in activities involving vehicles and machinery.

“So, while some of these deaths have been the result of freak accidents, many could have been prevented. Although this is a sad fact, this gives us hope that, with better practice on farms and safer use of machinery, incidents like this could become rarer.”

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