39 people killed on UK farms in a year, figures reveal

Farming still has the highest rate of fatal injury within the UK's main industry sectors
Farming still has the highest rate of fatal injury within the UK's main industry sectors

New figures have revealed that 39 people have lost their lives on farms in one year alone, making agriculture the deadliest industry.

Of those killed during 2018/19, 32 were agricultural workers and 7 were members of the public, including two children.

Eight people who tragically lose their lives were over the age of 65.

Over a third (36 percent) of all farming fatalities involved moving agricultural vehicles.

The figures, released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), shows that farming still has the highest rate of fatal injury.

In fact, there has been an increase in the number of deaths in agriculture during 2018/2019 compared to the year before.

The farming industry is around 18 times as high as the all industry rate, accounting for more than 22% of all workplace fatalities.

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

'Unenviable poor record'

Despite this, a HSE spokeswoman said it is 'very concerning' that there has been an increase in fatalities.

“These statistics act as a stark reminder that the industry needs to focus its efforts on managing risk so that everyone can go home healthy and safe from work.

“While this increase may not be a trend from year to year, the underlying fatal injury rate for agriculture for the past five years has remained largely static and is the highest of all industries.

“It is an unenviable poor record and the industry must do more to work together and make the changes it clearly needs.

“In agriculture, forestry and fishing, the causes of fatal incidents and the steps that need to be taken to prevent them are well known,” she said.

Farm Safety Week

The figures come as Farm Safety Week commences today (15 July) to work with those in the industry to make real change in improving the poor safety record.

It aims to inspire farmers to look after their physical and mental wellbeing and reduce the number of life-changing and life-ending accidents on farms.

Stephanie Berkeley, who manages the Farm Safety Foundation, asked: “Two children lost their lives last week in incidents involving farm vehicles so isn’t it time to sit up, take note and take action?

“On a farm, as with any business, the number one resource is the people so why do farmers still give more attention to their livestock, crops and machinery than to themselves and their own wellbeing?”

The release of the figures are published in the wake of two tragic farm incidents last week involving children.

Last Monday, a four-year-old child died on a Lancashire farm after initial investigations showed he fell from an agricultural vehicle.

Meanwhile, Ben Goldsmith's 15-year-old daughter was killed in an ATV accident at the family's farm in Somerset on the same day.