'Time to make a change': Over 40 people killed on farms in 2020

Over 40 people have been killed on farms this year according to fatality notifications from the HSE
Over 40 people have been killed on farms this year according to fatality notifications from the HSE

Farmers are being encouraged to make 2021 a year of prioritising safety as figures show that over 40 people were killed on farms in the UK this year.

The figures, release by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), bring home the harrowing reality of just how dangerous farming can be.

Potentially dangerous machinery is frequently used, as are other hazardous vehicles, chemicals, livestock, working at height or near pits and silos.

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) is one industry group calling on farmers to make a change and start taking safety on farms seriously.

"We need to let that statistic sink in - over 40 people have died on farms across the UK in 2020," said FUW deputy president Ian Rickman.

"That’s over 40 families who have lost a loved one and who are going through trauma, stress and are no doubt experiencing anxiety as well.

"The figure is exceptionally higher than last year and we must make changes on our farms to drastically reduce the number of fatalities.”

The Wales Farm Safety Partnership is one organisation that is highlighting the serious health and safety challenges on farms.

All organisations in Wales who are signed up to the ‘On Farm Health and Safety Charter for Wales' have pledged to 'work together to make farming safer'.

"It is also pretty clear that as an industry we could do much better at keeping ourselves and family members safe from harm," Mr Rickman said.

"The numbers confirm the most tragic of incidents, but don’t include the little accidents and near misses, which maybe should serve as a warning."

He added: “So please, when you leave the house in the morning and say ‘see you later’ - mean it. Mean it right down to your very core.

"Pay attention to what you’re doing, slow down a bit, check that the brake is on and the engine off when you get off the tractor, and wear that helmet when you’re on the quad bike and be safe. "