Agriculture has worst safety record of any industry

DOZENS of people die on Britain’s farms each year with many more seriously injured, according to figures which reveal agriculture has the worst safety record of any industry.

Ninety-eight members of the public are among nearly 750 people who have died in the last 16 years, according to national statistics revealed by the work and pensions minister, Lord Freud.

The main causes of accidents have remained constant - involving farm transport, including tractors and quad bikes, falls, moving or falling objects, asphyxiation or drowning, livestock, machinery and being trapped under collapsing materials.

The figures have shown little improvement since the mid-1990s despite the industry shrinking. Provisional figures for 2009/10 show 38 people working on farms and seven members of the public were killed, with another 1,705 injured. In 1994/95 there were 51 deaths and 1,979 injuries.

In 2009/10 there were 242.1 reported major injuries per 100,000 employees in agriculture, compared with 203.1 in 2008/09.

CLA East Midlands director Andrew Shirley said: “A lot of agricultural work goes on in the East Midlands and our farmers do a fantastic job, but they have to deal with long hours, gruelling working conditions and many have to work single-handedly.

“As an industry we must work collectively to ensure a better understanding of safety and hammer these figures down.”