A recent Study in the US showed just how dangerous farm work can be and why apart from some freak accidents there is a consistency about farm accidents that is depressingly inevitable. It shows how much still needs to be done to get farm safety on the agenda and accidents on the farm reduced
The study simply set out in detail the number of accidents and type of accidents over a three month period. The results were graphic showing just how danger is part and parcel of agricultural work and how safety is often simply over looked or disregarded.
The study showed that in the US alone there 621 farm work related deaths. That is staggering figure but proportionately the UK farm work safety is as bad.
- Typical examples for the three month period studied were
- dropping a mobile phone into silage and drowning whilst trying to recover it
- Tractor flipping over and crushing the driver
- Collapse of corn in a silo crushed a worker who was there inspecting it.
- Farm worker trampled and killed by 1500 pound bull
- Tractor worker disturbed a bees nest and the resulting bee stings caused his death
- Farm worker spraying a field when the spray hit a power line.
- Worker killed when trapped in a hay baler.
The study ranked agriculture as one of the 10 most dangerous jobs in the world. The main reason for this – long hours using heavy equipment and machinery- are the key reason. The freak accidents which often get reported in the press mask the routine accidents which form the bulk of the farm safety problem and cause unnecessary and avoidable farm accidents and farm work injuries.
It is clear from this study that farm work accidents and farm safety need to brought higher onto the safety agenda and also that farm safety needs to be more closely scrutinised and enforced