The farming agriculture profession is one of the most dangerous in the UK, with one worker, dying each week on average according to the Health and Safety Executive. With his week being Farm Safety Week, we take a look at proposed new legislation, which is set to try and reduce that figure.
Year on year, there are more injuries to workers in the agriculture industry than there is in any other profession. This includes construction and manufacturing and highlights the dangerous nature that a job in farming can carry.
The reasons why this profession carries such risks and threats to the well being of the staff who work in it, is the exposure to heavy machinery, which has the ability to cut objects a lot tougher than the human body, should it come into contact with it and it is the safety around the conditions that farmers and agricultural workers have to work in around this machinery, that the Government are determined to tackle.
This week one farmer has spoken out about the dangers of farming, and the disastrous effect his own accident, while using a quad bike and urged farmers to think more about how to avoid such accidents.
Mark Mather, from Haugh Head, near Northumberland, lost his foot as a result of a shotgun blast while working on the farm. He says that the effect on his life and the farm business had been immense and that he had been unable to work more than a year.
He also states in the Farmers Weekly article, that the consequences of accidents that occur in farming and agriculture, much like his, go far and beyond physical pain and suffering.
New farm penalties
So what of this new legislation being proposed to try and curb the number of injuries occurring within the UK’s most dangerous profession.?
From February 2017 new penalties will be introduced that will mean that injuries that occur because of what is perceived as corporate manslaughter or occur as a breach of other health and safety regulations will be punishable by heathy fines and/or imprisonment.
It is expected that the fines will range from anything as little as £50, right the way up to £10 million depending on the nature of the injury and the breach of the HSE regulations. The hope is that such extreme sanctions will force farm and agriculture employers to be more meticulous when it comes to adherence to health and safety law and as a result, ensure that their workplace is a much safer one.
Scott Rees and Co’s Catastrophic injury department have dealt with many cases similar to Mr Mather’s and the nature of the injuries suffered are often devastating for all involved and requires an extensive level of care to fully recuperate.
One thing that certainly needs addressing is the belief, as if it is some sort of excuse, that deaths in agriculture and farming are part and parcel of the job. This attitude has to change in order to drive the number of deaths that occur in the profession down and, most importantly, protect the workers in the same way that other dangerous industries do.
If you or someone you care about has been injured in an accident while working on a farm then you could be entitled to claim compensation. Visit our workplace accidents page for more information on whether you have a claim.