by Glyn Roberts, FUW president
In the last ten years, 388 farmers, their family members or farm workers have been killed on British farms and of these, 38 were in Wales.
Thousands more have suffered serious injuries which still impact daily and changed lives forever.
Over the past month we received news of a 3-year-old child being run over by a farm vehicle (the second child killed on a farm since January), a farmer being killed when checking a recently calved cow, and another farmer was killed when he was working with a stone separator.
And last week another devastating report came in, announcing a further tragic accident on a farm in Wales, involving a tractor. Our thoughts are naturally with the family at this very difficult time.
The sad reality is that being run over by farm vehicles is a major cause of death and serious injury in farming and often it is the driver of the vehicle that is killed when they are getting on or off the vehicle.
With this in mind, I would like to remind you of the Health and Safety Executive advice – Whenever you are using machinery, before leaving the driver’s seat/operating position – follow the safe stop procedure: Hand brake on; Controls to neutral or safe; Engine switched off; Key removed; never get on or off a moving vehicle.
Our industry 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.
Agriculture represents about 1.4 per cent of the workforce across the UK but astonishingly accounts for up to 20 per cent of all reported work-related fatalities in Great Britain.
And even though we still have one of the lowest rates of workplace deaths in Europe, one death is still one too many.
These recent examples, showing a depressing similarity in so many of these cases, serve as a stark reminder of how dangerous our industry is and we don’t want to see you becoming a farming fatality statistic.
So please, think about what you’re doing and be safe on farm!
The Wales Farm Safety Partnership (WFSP), a collaboration between all the key organisations representing agriculture and allied industries in Wales, is determined to reduce these stubbornly high statistics of farm accidents and fatalities by persuading farmers of all ages to attend a regional half day workshops on general farm safety.
Part of an ongoing awareness programme, the first two events, were held in May at Coleg Glynllifon in Llandwrog and at Gelli Aur, Coleg Sir Gar, and were delivered by Farming Connect.
They each comprised a series of short, practical demonstrations and presentations covering topics including the safe handling of livestock; working safely at heights; operating all-terrain vehicles and farm
machinery including lift trucks and tractors, and the handling of dangerous chemicals.
Two further ‘Saving Lives and Livelihoods’ events have been arranged by Farming Connect in conjunction with the Wales Farm Safety Partnership, both events will be held between 1pm and 4pm on Tuesday August 28 2018 at the Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells, Powys, LD3 3SY and Wednesday August 29 2018 at Rhuthin Livestock Market, Rhuthin, LL15 1PB.
FUW Meirionnydd county executive officer Huw Jones, who represents the FUW at the WFSP said: “I strongly urge our members to take up the opportunity to participate in one of these workshops, since they deal with the areas that see the most accidents on farm.”