Agriculture is known to be one of the most dangerous professions, which often sees farmers and farm workers working in solitude, challenging weather conditions and in stressful situations.
The risks on farms are all well-known and readily managed, but all too often farmers and farm workers put themselves in situations where one slip can have life changing or even fatal consequences.
The figures published in the Health and Safety Executive’s report ‘Fatal injuries in agriculture, forestry and fishing in Great Britain 2018/19’ show 39 people were killed as a result of farming and other agriculture-related activities during the year.
That’s 6 more than last year and 6 more than the 5-year average (33). Of these deaths, 7 members of the public were killed, which included 2 children.
Agriculture has the worst rate of worker fatal injury (per 100,000) of the main industrial sectors. It is eighteen times as high as the average rate across all industries.
Nearly half of the agricultural workers killed were over 60 and transport – overturning vehicles or being struck by moving vehicles – caused most deaths.
6 people died in Wales. That’s 6 families who went through life- changing trauma and many more will have been affected by the tragedies.
Together with our partners in the Wales Farm Safety Partnership, we are working on raising awareness and reducing the risk of harm faced by those in our industry.
The aim for the first three months this year is to bring better awareness of transport and machinery incidents. Here’s what the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advise when it comes to the use of ATVs.
Health and Safety Executive Advice on the use of ATVs
ATVs such as quad bikes are designed to cope with a wide variety of off-road conditions, but if used carelessly can very rapidly become unstable.
Many quad bike fatalities in the UK have been caused by head injuries. Helmets would have prevented most, if not all, of these deaths. You should always wear a suitable helmet when riding a quad bike.
The long seat on a quad bike allows operators to shift their body weight backwards and forwards for different slope conditions, a technique known as ‘active’ riding. It is not for carrying passengers.
To help reduce the risks:
* carry out safety checks and maintenance in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, eg regularly check tyre pressures, brakes and throttle;
* secure loads on racks and make sure they are not overloaded and evenly balanced; * always read and follow the owner’s manual;
* stick to planned routes, where possible, and walk new routes if necessary to check for hidden obstructions, hollows or other hazards;
* take extra care with trailed or mounted equipment and understand how they affect stability;
* make sure all riders receive adequate training.
Never carry a child as a passenger; it is illegal and will reduce your ability to control the ATV.
Children under 13 years old are prohibited from using an ATV at work. Over-13s should only ride ATVs – of an appropriate size and power – after formal training on a low-power ATV.