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30 killed in UK agriculture in last year, report finds

PUBLISHED: 09:00 24 July 2017 | UPDATED: 09:51 24 July 2017

A combine harvester at work in Suffolk.

A combine harvester at work in Suffolk.

(c) copyright newzulu.com

Thirty people were killed in UK agriculture in 2016/17 including a child, a report reveals.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) study, which covers the period from April 1, 2016, to the end of March 2017, looked at deaths in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries.

It found half of those who died were over the age of 65 - although the youngest killed was three and the oldest 80. More than 85% of those who died were over the age of 45.

Agriculture has the worst record by far for fatal injuries of all the main industrial sectors, and the rate of injury was nearly six times higher than that of the construction sector, the report said.

The annual average for farming deaths is 32, so the 2016/17 toll was lower than average.

Of those who died, nine were killed after being struck by farm vehicles, and six were trapped after something collapsed. Five were struck by objects, and three were killed in incidents involving overhead power lines. Two died after falling from height and two were killed by animals. One was asphyxiated in a grain silo, another crushed between a machine and a door frame and a third was killed by contact with machinery.

Over the last 35 years, the fatal injury rate for agricultural workers has shown no clear trend, although there have been some signs of improvement in the last five years.

Of those who died 20 were self-employed, seven were employees and three were members of the public.

In terms of region, three of the deaths were in the east/south-east, compared to a five year average of four deaths. Scotland saw the number of deaths fall from an average of eight to five last year, while the southwest saw a higher-than-average death toll of seven.

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