Accidents Within the Farming Industry; MyClaim Urges Farm Owners to Take Heed of Health & Safety Laws

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The death of a Staffordshire farm worker, who became trapped in a hay bailer, at the end of last month, reminds us all too clearly of the dangers of working within the farming industry. In the midst of the Harvest season, MyClaim urges farm owners and workers to take heed of health and safety law, and take extra care to ensure that health and safety procedures are followed.

The death of a Staffordshire farm worker, who became trapped in a hay bailer, at the end of last month, reminds us all too clearly of the dangers of working within the farming industry. In the midst of the Harvest season when the undertaking of dangerous farming activities are undoubtedly intensified, MyClaim urges farm owners to take heed of health and safety law, and for farm workers to take extra care to ensure that they follow health and safety procedures.

With the exception of the construction industry there are more fatal accidents in farming than in any other industry. Although the industry only makes up 1.7% of the UK's workforce it accounts for 17% of the country's fatal injuries. Under the RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995) all accidents resulting in death, major injury or necessitating more than 3 days off work must be reported to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), or in some cases to local authorities. Despite this requirement it is estimated that only 26% of these serious accidents involving employees are actually reported.

MyClaim would therefore urge anyone involved in such accidents to ensure that they are reported to help build a clearer understanding of the dangers within the farming industry, and to hold those responsible accountable. In turn this will help prevent other people suffering a similar fait.

Unfortunately, these statistics are not surprising when one thinks of the large agricultural vehicles and machinery which are used, and the fact that farm employees all too often do not have adequate training to use such machinery. This coupled with no or inadequate safety equipment spells a recipe for disaster. Sadly the personal injury accidents which do occur are often catastrophic if not fatal.

Despite the best efforts of Regulatory bodies such as the HSE, these types of accidents will occur and increase in number over the Harvest period. What makes them all the more tragic is as many as 50% could be avoided by simple and inexpensive measures such as the fitting and wearing of seatbelts in agricultural vehicles.
Clearly therefore more still needs to be done to guard against the risks within the industry, and this is reflected in the Government's better regulation strategy which the HSE interprets as identifying the following needs:

  •     More efficient, more effective regulation and (ideally) less of it;
  •     A "lighter touch", fewer burdens on business and less red tape;
  •     Rationalised (if not reduced) inspection and enforcement activity;
  •     A clearer separation between enforcement activity and advice;
  •     A more "joined-up" approach between Government Departments;
  •     More meaningful collaboration and partnership between Government Departments and those with influence in the industry - its "stakeholders" and intermediaries in the Food supply chain; and
  •     Improved and more widespread application of information technology.

With the level of fatal and serious injuries still at such high levels within farming MyClaim would only welcome such changes. If you or a loved one are unfortunate enough to be or to have been involved in a farming accident, and you wish to bring a claim for personal injury compensation; MyClaim recommends contacting a legal firm with specialist knowledge and experience in this area of the law. It's also worth enquiring about No Win No Fee legal representation, were the injured party will receive 100% of their compensation.

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Damian Horan
MyClaim
+44 (0)23 8071 8000
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