Farming sector should be embarrassed by poor safety record, says sector chief
PUBLISHED: 11:22 21 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:22 21 June 2019
The agricultural industry should be "embarrassed" about its health and safety record, a national farmers' leader said as he prepared to visit Suffolk to highlight the issue.
National Farmers' Union (NFU) vice president Stuart Roberts will be at the first of a series of five free health and safety workshops taking place across the region in the run-up to harvest.
His appearance at Symonds Farm, near Bury St Edmunds, on June 27, is part of an industry-wide drive to improve agriculture's poor record on fatalities and serious injuries.
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"The health and safety record of agriculture is something the industry should be embarrassed about," he said.
"However, I am seeing signs that farm businesses are starting to respond to this issue in a positive way.
"Initiatives such as these farm safety workshops are starting to have a positive effect in changing the culture of the industry and I would urge farmers and farm workers to take time to attend.
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"Together, we can help to drive safety forward, reducing the risk of accidents and making our industry the safest it can be."
The events, open to members and their staff, will feature short presentations on key topics including trailer safety, workplace transport, vehicle speeds, weights and licence requirements.
UK Power Networks will focus on safety around power lines and there will be a presentation by the fire service on fire and arson prevention.
Figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show there were 33 farming-related deaths last year. Statistically, agriculture is the most dangerous industry, with 8.44 deaths per 100,000 employed, compared with an all-industry average of 0.45 deaths per 100,000.
NFU East Anglia county network manager Adam Scott said: "Everyone in farming will know of someone who has been killed, or seriously injured, in an agricultural accident and the impact this has on their business but, more importantly, on their family, staff and friends.
"Farmers are extremely busy ahead of harvest, but a few hours spent at one of these workshops will be time well spent. It could, literally, be a life-saver."
Each event is 9am for 9.30am and will finish at about 1pm. Booking is essential. Contact email@example.com or 01638 672100.