Around 75% of UK land is used for farming and although less 1% of UK workers work in the agriculture, the sector still plays an invaluable role in the home economy. Agriculture is a vital profession, supplying cities and towns with food, contributing to exports, maintaining the countryside, and providing rural communities with job opportunities.
Unfortunately, workers in the farming sector can pay a heavy price for their labours. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the agricultural industry has one of the largest death and serious injury rates of any British profession.
The HSE states that, on average, around 50 agricultural workers lose their lives each year while carrying out their jobs. In fact, if a person is employed in farming, he is two and a half times more likely to die during an accident at work than in a traffic collision.
Farming is a hazardous occupation and heavy machinery, chemicals, livestock, work at height, vehicles, inclement weather and an aging workforce all play a part in making it one of the UK's most dangerous workplaces.
However, as with all other industries, agriculture is bound by the regulations of British health and safety law. Sadly, though, research has suggested that many agricultural employers fail to correctly adhere to health and safety legislation.
In 2012, Farmers Weekly, a publication for the agricultural industry, published the results of a survey which suggested failures in the sector in preventing accidents at work. In fact, the organisation stated the research demonstrated "alarming gaps in farmer safety knowledge".
After polling 378 agricultural employers, those who conducted this survey discovered that 68% of respondents knew someone who had suffered an accident while at work – and 35% said these incidents had fatal consequences.
Despite these statistics, nearly a third of those polled admitted to not supplying any health and safety information to their labourers. Moreover, almost 50% did not carry out risk assessments, while 40% of employees stated they were either not provided with personal protective equipment or shown how to use this apparel.
Consequently, despite the best efforts of organisations such as the HSE, agriculture remains an unacceptably dangerous sector with around one agriculture worker a week sustaining fatal injury in the workplace, whether in a fall from height, an incident involving a vehicle, drowning, a livestock accident or in an incident related to contact with exposed overhead power lines.
There is a profound economic cost to these accidents, too, with the HSE estimating the cost of agricultural injuries at around £190 million a year.
Claiming for an agricultural accident with Seth Lovis & Co.
At Seth Lovis & Co, our team of experienced lawyers has helped numerous labourers and agricultural workers make personal, catastrophic, or serious injury claims after suffering accidents caused by the negligence of another party, usually an employer. To find out if our team can help you, please call us today on 0808 252 0678 or, alternatively, complete one of our online claim forms.