New HSE campaign targets edibles sector

A disturbing and hard-hitting campaign to prevent accidental deaths in the workplace is targeting growers and farmers.

The sector is "one of the most dangerous ways to make a living in Britain", say safety chiefs, who are highlighting the devastation caused to bereaved families.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) campaign, Make the Promise, Come Home Safe, uses posters to ask farmers to promise to come home safely because they owe it to their families, friends, the land they farm and their communities.

HSE is sending "promise packs" to around 70,000 farmers. They contain a symbolic knot of farm baling twine - a visual reminder of the pledge to come home safely.

The three worst culprits to agriculture workers in the past decade were transport (24 per cent), falls from height (17 per cent) and moving or falling objects (15 per cent).

HSE non-executive board member Judith Donovan said: "On average more than 45 deaths (a year) occur on British farms. This is a partnership to keep farmers safe, not us dictating terms. Extra care must be taken when working with vehicles and machinery, on roofs and with livestock."

And while less than 1.5 per cent of the working population worked in agriculture, it was responsible for up to 20 per cent of fatalities to workers each year. Two-thirds of all deaths were self-employed farmers. Older farmers were most at risk, accounting for over half of the deaths to the self-employed.

Jim McLaren, president of NFU Scotland, said: "Accidents destroy lives, whole families and often farm businesses. This campaign is of massive importance."

- Contact 0800 141 2805 for a copy of a new booklet, How Lives Are Lost On British Farms.

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