32 deaths recorded in farming industry last year, stats show

Agriculture continues to account for the largest share of fatal injuries to workers, as latest figures show 32 deaths were recorded in 2018/19.

Agriculture, along with forestry and fishing, are the worst affected sectors, with a rate of fatal injury some 18 times and 17 times as high as the average across all industries.

The sectors are a small fraction of the workforce of Britain, yet accounted for over 20 percent of worker fatalities in the last year.

It comes as the sector aims to reduce on-farm deaths and injuries by 50 percent by 2023.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released the annual figures for work-related fatal injuries for 2018/19.

The provisional annual data for work-related fatal injuries revealed that 147 workers were fatally injured between April 2018 and March 2019.

However, there has been a long-term reduction in the number of fatalities since 1981.

Although 2018/19 saw an increase of 6 workplace fatalities from 2017/18, the number has remained broadly level in recent years.

'Worryingly high'

HSE Chair Martin Temple said workplace death in agriculture remains 'worryingly high'.

“This is unacceptable and more must be done to prevent such fatalities taking place.

“Whatever the sector, we should remember that any change in numbers provides little comfort to the family, friends and colleagues of the 147 whose lives were cut short this year while doing their job,” he said.

The three most common causes of fatal injuries continue to be; workers falling from height (40), being struck by a moving vehicle (30) and being struck by a moving object (16).

These causes account for nearly 60 per cent of fatal injuries in 2018/19.

And the new figures continued to highlight the risks to older workers; 25 per cent of fatal injuries in 2018/19 were to workers aged 60 or over, even though such workers made up only around 10 per cent of the workforce.

In addition, there were also 92 members of the public fatally injured in incidents connected to work in 2018/2019.