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Farm deaths rise by over 60 per cent, new HSE figures show

Latest figures from the Health & Safety Executive show there were 34 deaths in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector in 2020-21 – a significant jump from last year’s low of 21.

Out of 142 workers killed in work accidents over the past 12 months, more than half occurred in the agriculture, forestry and fishing and the construction sectors.

According to the latest data from HSE, the rate of deaths in agriculture is now 20 times higher than the average across all industries.

This year farm deaths have risen by 61 per cent to 34, significantly higher than the five-year average of 28, and last year’s relative low of 21.

The rate of fatal injury per 100,000 workers is also highest in the agricultural sector, and reached 11.37 in 2020-21, compared to the five-year average of 8.44.

A significantly higher number of deaths also occur in self-employed workers in the sector. Over the five-year period of 2016/17–2020/21, 60 per cent or more of fatal injuries in both agriculture, forestry and fishing and administrative and support services are to self-employed workers. This compares with 35 per cent in construction and 9 per cent in manufacturing.

The three most common causes of fatal injuries to workers as a whole continue to be workers falling from height (35), being struck by a moving vehicle (25) and being struck by a moving object (17), accounting for more than half of fatalities in 2020/21.

HSE’s chief executive, Sarah Albon, said: “Whilst the working world in which we now live has created new health challenges for workers and for those who have a duty towards them, safety must also remain a priority.

“Whilst the picture has improved considerably over the longer term and Great Britain is one of the safest places to work in the world, every loss of life is a tragedy, we are committed to ensuring that workplaces are as safe as they can be and that employers are held to account and take their obligations seriously.”

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