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Increased health and safety awareness on UK farms will be the focus during harvest time this year, following the publication of alarming statistics.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned that the rate of fatal accidents in the agricultural sector is 18 times higher than the average for UK industry. According to statistics published by HSE, there were 27 fatalities on UK farms during 2016. Farm Safety Week, running from July 24-27, has been used to focus on working towards reducing this number.

The most dangerous times of the year in farming are the summer and autumn. The main causes of injury and death on farms are working excessive hours, heavy machinery and vehicles. However, falling from roofs and buildings, and working with livestock are also major contributors to the fatality and injury rate. One of the aims of Farm Safety Week this year was to remind those in the sector of the importance of making safety part of the farming lifestyle.

The Farm Safety Foundation organises the awareness week, with support from farm safety partnerships and UK farming organisations in the UK. Farmers across the country have challenged each other to make one improvement to farm safety each day for 30 days, which they hope will reduce the number of accidents and fatalities.

Although the use of specialist equipment, including PPE and workwear, will help to reduce the number of injuries suffered, it is still necessary to utilise further practices to tackle the problem.

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