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Scotland sees a dramatic drop in fatalities on farms

By Rachael Glennie

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NFU Scotland has welcomed the news that the number of farm deaths has dropped from 13 to 2 in the last 12 months, but the NFU insists there is still work to be done.

The start of Farm Safety Week this week sees NFU Scotland work with the Farm Safety Foundation, and other stakeholders, to promote the importance of proper health and safety practices.

To coincide with Farm Safety Week, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released their report on fatal injuries in agriculture, forestry and fishing in Great Britain 2019/20

Over the last 12 months there have been two fatalities due to on farm injuries in Scotland, which is a marked improvement on the previous year which saw 13 deaths.

The Union has welcomed the news and recognises that this is down to a clear shift in the attitudes of farmers and crofters who are taking health and safety on farm far more seriously than they have in the past.

Agriculture has, for a number of years, had a poor record for health and safety and it is something which NFU Scotland has worked closely with the Farm Safety Foundation and HSE to improve the industries reputation.

Despite the improvements in the number of fatalities on farm in Scotland, there is still work to be done and NFU Scotland, along with the Farm Safety Foundation and HSE, is committed to continuing to improve safety on Scottish farms and crofts.

Speaking about the latest figures, NFU Scotland Vice President Charlie Adam said: “It is clear to see from the latest figures that the work NFU Scotland, the Farm Safety Foundation and HSE is having a positive affect and we are seeing some much needed improvements.

“Two deaths are still two too many and it shows that there is still plenty of work to be done.

"These two incidents aren’t just figures on a report, they are two separate farming families who will be grieving and should be treated as such.

“The work that we do with the Farm Safety Foundation, and other stakeholders, during Farm Safety Week is vitally important to spread the message of good health and safety on farm but it cannot be just for the one week a year. Farmers and crofters need to buy into these new farming methods and technologies year round, not just for these five days.”

North East MSP and Scottish Conservative shadow rural minister Peter Chapman said:

"Sadly, farming has had a number of accidents far in excess of most other industries.

"Working long hours in the cold and dark, taking risks, has been the way for too long, as has performing potentially dangerous tasks alone.

"But it shouldn't be that way, and I am heartened that attitudes are changing for the better.

"No job is worth risking lives for, a message that seems to be getting through to more and more farmers."

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