Like any other place of work, agricultural sites and farms should provide workers with a safe and secure day-to-day work environment. However, agriculture has one of the highest rates of occupational ill health record and fatal accidents that any other major employment sector, accounting for 16 per cent of the fatal injuries affecting UK workers each year.
In fact, according to figures published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), an average of 49 people are killed on an agricultural site every year, which is the equivalent of around one every week. Members of the public can also fall victim to the dangers of agricultural sites if heavy machinery and livestock aren’t properly managed by those in charge.
(Note: this article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be read as a promotion, solicitation or endorsement. The author has no affiliation with Clearwater Solicitors, any of its agencies or subsidiaries, or with any other personal injury law firm.)
Causes of Agricultural Accident
Due to the varied nature of the agricultural industry, there are a wide variety of accidents that can take place, including:
Farm Vehicle Accidents – Many people are injured each year by the heavy machinery that is often found on and around agricultural sites. Vehicles such as tractors, combine harvesters and forklift trucks can lead to a wide range of accidents, including vehicle collisions, crushing accidents and overturn accidents.
Falling From Height – Farms and other agricultural sites can often require workers to work at height, and these elevated areas can prove to be extremely dangerous to workers if they are not properly managed by employers.
Farm Machinery Accidents – As well as farm vehicles, farm machines can cause extremely serious and often fatal injuries due to the unforgiving nature of the large machines used. Exposed machinery or poor safety procedures are the largest causes of large machinery accidents, as well as a failure to provide workers with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Falling Objects – The chances of being injured from falling objects are high in any large work space, but agricultural workplaces have a particularly high rate of falling object injuries due to the number of items typically stored at height within these environments.
Injuries Caused by Chemicals – Agricultural sites have one of the highest rates of injuries caused by chemicals and other hazardous substances due to the nature of the industry. These chemicals and pesticides can cause serious illnesses if employers do not ensure they are handled carefully by workers. Asbestos is one of the largest causes of such injuries, and employers should take all the necessary steps to make sure that workers are not exposed to the deadly asbestos dust when repairing or demolishing any buildings that contain the substance.
Livestock Accidents – Agricultural sites and farms are traditionally the home of large numbers of livestock, much of which is large in size and potentially very dangerous if not handled with care and attentions. Approximately eight per cent of all farm related deaths are attributed to dangerous livestock each year, including those that affect members of the public.
Vibration Injuries – Due to the type of work that takes place on agricultural sites, many workers are subjected to vibrating tools and machinery on a day to day basis. Equipment such as drills and chainsaws can lead to many vibratory injuries if not managed, including Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).
Carol Smith studies UK employment law and reviews to UK law on behalf of best personal injury solicitors. She lives in Burnley with her family and love to long drive around the countryside