Fatigue and stress named main causes of farm accidents
Researchers from the University of Aberdeen have identified fatigue and stress as the key causes of accidents on farms.
Situational awareness – a person being aware of what’s happening around them – is reduced by fatigue and stress, and this is the main cause of agricultural accidents.
According to data from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the industry in Britain that is the most dangerous is farming, which has the highest rate of injuries and fatalities. In the year 2020-2021, 34 UK workers died due to farming accidents, which is an increase of 60% compared to 2019-2020.
The University of Aberdeen School of Psychology financed the research. Farmers in Ireland and the UK were questioned about farming accidents. Poor situational awareness and workers failing to spot something was found to have caused most accidents.
Writing for NFU Scotland, Lead Researcher Ruxandra Tone said most farmers revealed that:
“They were taking more risks or shortcuts and rushing to get the job done when extremely tired. They also mentioned that their alertness or concentration dropped and that they were less aware of what was going on around them, and less able to spot when things were going wrong.”
There are several ways to prevent tiredness for farmers and others working in high-risk occupations. The simplest way is to get plenty of sleep, rest and relaxation opportunities, and to take regular breaks at work. Using specialised PPE (personal protective equipment) that detects when drivers are tired and sounds an alert so that they can park in a safe place to take a quick nap can also help.