Steep rise in farm fatalities recorded, figures show

The UK safety watchdog's new figures have confirmed a steep rise in agriculture deaths
The UK safety watchdog's new figures have confirmed a steep rise in agriculture deaths

A total of 142 people lost their lives while at the workplace in Britain, of which 34 were in agriculture, forestry and fishing, worrying new figures show.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report shows that, in the year to 31 March 2021, over half of fatal injuries to workers were in the agriculture, forestry and fishing.

This is an increase of 13 from the low of 21 seen in the previous year. The five-year average for fatal injuries in this sector is 28.

The rate of fatal injury to workers in agriculture, forestry and fishing remains markedly higher than the average across all industries: around 20 times as high.

The figures released by the UK's safety watchdog relate to workplace incidents, and they do not include deaths arising from occupational exposure to disease, including Covid-19.

HSE’s chief executive, Sarah Albon said: “Whilst the working world in which we now live has created new health challenges for workers and for those who have a duty towards them, safety must also remain a priority.

"Whilst the picture has improved considerably over the longer term and Great Britain is one of the safest places to work in the world, every loss of life is a tragedy.

"We are committed to ensuring that workplaces are as safe as they can be and that employers are held to account and take their obligations seriously.”

The three most common causes of fatal injuries continue to be falling from height (35), being struck by a moving vehicle (25) and being struck by a moving object (17).

For all sectors, these causes accounted for more than half of fatalities in 2020/21.

The figures also highlight the risks to older workers, with around 30% of fatal injuries involving workers aged 60 or over.

This is even though such workers only make up around 11% of the workforce, the HSE said in its report.

In addition, members of the public continue to be killed in connection with work-related incidents, with 60 members of the public killed as a result of a work-related incident.