Sectors' death toll falls but safety rate failing to improve

A total of 31 people, including four members of the public, two of them children, died in farming, horticulture, arboriculture and forestry in 2013-14, according to the latest report from the Health & Safety Executive.

The figure is the second lowest in the past 10 years and continues a downward trend. However, coinciding with a decline in overall numbers employed, it suggests the sectors' safety rate is not improving and indeed agriculture remains the UK's most dangerous industry.

Incidents involving transport, mainly tractors and all-terrain vehicles, were again the most common cause of death, followed by injury from animals (cows or bulls), with equal numbers victim to falls from height and contact with machinery.

Self-employed workers outnumbered employees and there was a marked skewing towards older farm workers, with 11 of the 31 killed aged over 65. An average of nearly one person a week was killed as a direct result of agricultural work over the period.


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