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Action called for to reduce farming deaths

By Kyle Ritchie

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Calls have been made for more to be done to tackle the death rate in agriculture.

New figures have revealed that 13 people died last year on Scotland’s farms and crofts.

This is five more deaths than in 2017/2018 – the highest average increase across Great Britain during this period.

Deaths on farms have increased in the space of a year.
Deaths on farms have increased in the space of a year.

The Health and Safety Executive has released its latest Fatal Injuries in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing for Great Britain 2018/2019 report.

It details that agriculture has the worst rate of worker fatal injuries (per 100,000) of the main industrial sectors: 18 times as high as the average rate across all industries.

MSP for the North East region, Peter Chapman, said: "One death on the land in Scotland is one too many.

"Farmers accept that working with heavy machinery and putting in long hours can be dangerous.

"But cutting out unnecessary risks would go a long way to reversing this unacceptable increase.

"I implore farmers and crofters to take the time and press home the message.

"Human life is more important than any job that needs done."

Commenting on the statistics, NFU Scotland chief executive Scott Walker on behalf of the Farm Safety Partnership Scotland said: “One death is disappointing to hear but to hear that 13 people have died on Scotland’s farms and crofts in 2018 is heart-breaking.

“It is concerning that while a conscious effort has been made by many to prioritise safety on farms and crofts in recent years, this number continues to increase.

"The fact that three of the five ATV deaths in the UK happened in Scotland is a stark reminder that everyone using a quad bike should be wearing a helmet and should be abiding by guidance from HSE on their safe use.

“Once again this reinforces that everyone whether they live, work or visit a farm or croft must put safety as the number one priority.

"We fully appreciate the challenges upon those in the industry to get the job done when struggling to make a living, but there is nothing more important than your life.

“Farm safety is everyone’s place and we need action to be taken to reduce the death and injury toll on Scotland’s farms and crofts."

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