Farm Safety Week: Falling and falling objects accounts for 30% of farm deaths

Transporting and stacking large hay bales has, over recent years, resulted in numerous injuries to and deaths
Transporting and stacking large hay bales has, over recent years, resulted in numerous injuries to and deaths

The risk of falling from heights or being struck by a falling object accounts for nearly 30% of all farming fatalities.

This demonstrates that ‘falls’ must remain high on the list of farming risks to be managed.

Transporting and stacking large hay bales has, over recent years, resulted in numerous injuries to and deaths of some operators of the machinery or people near the scene of operations.

According to Stephanie Berkeley from the Farm Safety Foundation, the charity behind Farm Safety Week: “Any fall from height can lead to long term injuries and make it difficult to keep on farming.



“Most accidents of this type happen either because the work is not properly planned, the risks are not recognised, proper precautions are not taken, or the equipment used is either defective, not appropriate, or used incorrectly.

“According to Voice of the Farm research carried out this year half of all farmers claim to take risks.



“I am sure many believe it will ‘only take a few minutes’, and take risks in the hope that simply being very careful will be enough. But as Jack Fisher knows, it rarely is.”

The Fisher family tragically lost their father Peter due to falling objects
The Fisher family tragically lost their father Peter due to falling objects

'Freak accident'

Jack Fisher, a young farmer from Norwich and former student at Easton & Otley College lost his father Peter on 11th February this year.

The 54 year old suffered a tragic accident while he was unstrapping a load of straw on his lorry. A stack of four Heston bales collapsed off the side of the lorry while Peter was rolling up a strap beside them.

He was crushed by the impact and, unfortunately, died at the scene.

Peter’s tragic accident is a reminder that no matter how experienced someone is, farming can be very dangerous.

“Dad was a very experienced and heavily qualified driver who had been doing this job for many years” says Jack, who can barely bring himself to talk about his father in the past tense.



“Mum, Gene, Ross and I are just taking one day at a time and I think it’ll take a while before the trauma of the accident goes.”

Jack continued: “We were devastated to lose Dad in such a freak accident but that’s what it was – an accident and, this Farm Safety Week, we have agreed to share our story to highlight the impact an accident like this can have on the whole family.

“Friends and family have been so supportive with an attendance of nearly 500 people at his funeral and have helped raised just over £2,600 for the Farm Safety Foundation (via funeral donations) to help them continue to deliver practical training for the next generation of farmers and hopefully change this poor safety record we have in farming.

“As a family, we have to carry on and hope that someone reading this will stop and think twice before taking a risk. That would be the best legacy for Dad.”

'Proactive measures'

“It is human nature to think ‘it won’t happen to me,’ but unfortunately it can, especially if we continue to take risks, whether major or minor.” says Farm Safety Foundation’s Stephanie Berkeley.

“Taking preventative, proactive measures is one of the best things we can do for our farm and workers.

“Most preventative practices are common sense. Tragically, most accidents are caused by simple factors such as habit, haste, fatigue, and improperly maintained machinery.

“This week, we hope that by hearing from families like the Fisher family about their experiences, we can persuade farmers of all ages that this week, and every week, farm safety is a lifestyle, not a slogan.”

In recent years, work-related fatalities in the UK and Ireland’s farming industries have been disproportionate compared to the number of deaths in other industries.

Farm Safety Week

Monday: 'Pub Landlord' Al Murray helped rescue a trapped farm worker

Tuesday: Machinery biggest cause of farm deaths