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News

Working together helping to reduce fatalities in the Scottish agriculture industry

HSE InfoLine : 24 June, 2004  (Company News)
Dr Roger Nourish, Head of HSE's Agriculture and Food Sector said: 'Last year I appealed to Scottish farming families to work with us to stem the rising number of deaths in agriculture. This year has seen a return to single figures. And for the first time in over a decade no agricultural employee was killed in Scotland while at work. The overall reduction in the number of deaths is welcome but we must not be complacent. The trend for agriculture as a whole of a rising fatal accident incidence rate amongst the self-employed and family farms is still a concern. We need to sustain and build on the improvements in Scotland over the past year.'
The agricultural industry in Scotland claimed seven lives in 2003/04, four fewer than last year, according to figures released today by the Health and Safety Executive.

Dr Roger Nourish, Head of HSE's Agriculture and Food Sector said: 'Last year I appealed to Scottish farming families to work with us to stem the rising number of deaths in agriculture. This year has seen a return to single figures. And for the first time in over a decade no agricultural employee was killed in Scotland while at work. The overall reduction in the number of deaths is welcome but we must not be complacent. The trend for agriculture as a whole of a rising fatal accident incidence rate amongst the self-employed and family farms is still a concern. We need to sustain and build on the improvements in Scotland over the past year.'

Stuart North, HSE's Head of Operations in Scotland, said: 'Sensible health and safety is about managing risks not eliminating them. The people best placed to make farms safer are farmers themselves, so stop and think safety. Health and safety is a fundamental requirement of a sustainable farming business.'

A total of 88 people have been killed in Scottish agriculture over the past ten years - an average of around nine every year. The estimated cost to farmers and farm workers of farm accidents in 2003/04 was estimated at 44.5 million. These losses are avoidable by taking sensible health and safety measures.

HSE is committed to being a good partner within Scottish agriculture and we are working closely with Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department and National Farmers Union Scotland on a range of initiatives.

HSE's efforts alone will not build a safer and healthier industry. It is for everyone in the agriculture and the wider food chain to play their part in addressing this issue. For example, we are discussing with SEERAD and NFUs the place of risk management as central to their objectives of sustainable farm businesses and how it can be integrated into their initiatives such as farm business plans and land management contracts.

Stuart North added, 'Two workers died felling trees. This is a high-risk activity requiring a high level of knowledge and skill. Even highly competent workers can get into difficulty during work on trees. So I call on all those commercial organisations and the public, who engage tree surgeons, to help by engaging reputable and competent contractors.'

Dr Nourish added: 'A sustainable farming business needs farmers who are alive and well. Remember, stop and think safety, make sure you come home in one piece.'
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