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News

HSE's drive for safer farming in Wales

HSE InfoLine : 20 July, 2004  (Company News)
The trend for agriculture in Wales is similar to the pattern for Great Britain. In the last ten years 57 workers have been killed in Wales, including four times more self-employed than employees. In Great Britain as a whole, there is a downward trend in fatal incident rates in the employed sector, but not among the self-employed.
The Welsh agricultural industry claimed six lives in 2003/04, two more than last year, according to figures released today by the Health and Safety Executive.

Five of the six deaths occurred during the use or repair of vehicles. One particularly tragic incident involved an 8-year-old boy who was crushed under the wheels of a reversing fork-lift truck.

The trend for agriculture in Wales is similar to the pattern for Great Britain. In the last ten years 57 workers have been killed in Wales, including four times more self-employed than employees. In Great Britain as a whole, there is a downward trend in fatal incident rates in the employed sector, but not among the self-employed.

Dr Roger Nourish, Head of HSE's Agriculture and Food sector, said:
'I regret that I have to report an increase in fatal accidents in Welsh farming. Last year HSE stated its commitment to reduce needless deaths on Welsh farms by appealing to communities and families to work with us. Clearly there is still much work to be done.

Sensible health and safety is about managing risks, not eliminating all risk, and farmers are the best-placed to do this. Health and safety is a fundamental requirement of sustainable farming and should be regarded as integral to good farm business management.'

Steve Coppell, HSE's Head of operations in Wales said:
'We will continue to work with our stakeholders such as the Welsh Assembly, Government agencies, agricultural colleges, farming unions, Lantra and Farming Connect, who can influence farmers to improve risk control. Accidents are traumatic for all involved - they are also costly in financial terms (the cost to farmers and farm workers of accidents in Wales for 2003/04 was about 20.9 million). We will work to help farmers comply with the law but we will take a hard line with people who flout it.'

Roger Nourish continued:
'Each year there are more transport-related incidents in Great Britain than any other category. These latest tragic statistics for Wales underline the risks. So today I am pleased to launch the Tractor Action video, which uses hard-hitting reconstructions and describes safe working practices for tractor operations. The video demonstrates how simple errors can lead to disaster and describes basic steps that reduce the risk. This video is part of a training package that includes a Safety Training Guide for lecturers and trainers and a Tractor action leaflet for students and trainees.

'Welsh farmers are particularly vulnerable - many work in small family enterprises or are self-employed and working alone. We will continue our programme of Safety and Health Awareness Days for this audience, demonstrating common risks and sensible, practical solutions.

'Sustainable farming can only be achieved if farmers are alive and well. Therefore I want to appeal directly to farming families - ask your loved ones what work they are doing and how will they ensure they get home in one piece. For further advice and support go to our website or phone our info line'.
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