In 2012 the records show that farming was the most dangerous injury to be working in not only in the UK but also across the water in the Irish Republic.
Records from the Health and Safety Executive released recently show that there were 33 farm workers killed in the period from April 2011 to March 2012.
According to the same source this was a 10% increase on the same period in the previous year when 30 were reported.
In addition to this the number of non fatal injuries also increased in the same period by approximately 9%.
The picture is very similar in the Irish Republic where almost 45% of workplace deaths are on farms. Even taking into account the rural nature of the Irish economy this is a worrying percentage.
But the figure may be much worse than this. A recent estimate from the Health and Safety Executive indicated that as few as one in five farm injuries are officially reported. Why is this?
One answer may be that the practice of recording such incidents varies widely across size and type of farm. The Farming Trade Paper ‘The Farmers Weekly indicated that almost half farms do not have a written policy which means the accident will simply go unreported.
So it looks as though this may be the tip of the iceberg- what is being done about it?
The Farmers Weekly have indicated that they as employers are seeking to improve on their record. They say that the latest Health and Safety Executive programme of training to increase awareness by farmers of their responsibility as employers was oversubscribed.
This will take time that employees may not have if this rate of death and injury continues. Sadly it seems that the only way farmers will start to take seriously their responsibilities to their employees is when an accident takes place and a personal injury claim is brought against them. Insurers need also to make farmers more aware of their responsibility to ensure that the safety and welfare of their employees must remain their main priority.