The farming industry is one of the riskiest to work in. Although farming accounts for less than 2% of Britain’s workforce, it causes 16% of fatal accidents at work. Employers in the agricultural sector must be attentive to all aspects of farm work and carry out stringent risk assessments to ensure that their staff are not exposed to unnecessary risks.
Accidents involving farm vehicles such as tractors, forklifts, 4x4s, combine harvesters and other heavy machinery are common in farms. Accidents can range from whiplash caused by collisions to loss of limbs from personal contact with a vehicle.
Farm machinery often has exposed blades, wheels, transmission belts or other components that can cause injury or loss of limb.
Working at height in trees or repairing broken roofs are another cause of accidents, especially falls. It’s vital that risk assessments are undertaken and that the correct ladders and safety equipment are provided.
Injuries by falling objects are also reported. Hay bales are heavier than they appear and have been known to cause serious injury. Other examples of falling objects typically found on farms that can cause injury include timber or collapsing buildings.
Farm workers are frequently exposed to harmful chemicals and dust including asbestos, pesticides, and dust from mouldy hay or crops. This can cause respiratory diseases such as occupational asthma, farmer’s lung or asbestos-related diseases.
Slurry pits and silos can be extremely dangerous. Workers can die from drowning or asphyxiation if they fall into a pit or silo. Slurry pits can also contain toxic chemicals and emit harmful fumes, so those required to work around these areas must be provided with health and safety training as well as adequate personal protective equipment. Farm equipment and machinery can have very high noise outputs.
If workers are not provided with ear defenders, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or permanent hearing loss can occur. Hand operated farming tools such as chainsaws, brush cutters, grinders or power drills can cause a condition known as Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).
Symptoms of HAVS include numbness in the fingers, muscle weakness, Reynaud’s disease (which causes the fingers to feel cold and change colour), aches and pains. 8% of all farm-related accidents are associated with large, dangerous livestock.
Not all farming accidents affect workers. It has been known for members of the public or families of farm workers to be involved too.
If you’ve been injured in a farming accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be able entitled to claim compensation. There are time limits imposed on making a claim so it’s important to seek legal advice straight away. For more information on how Cute Injury can help, get in touch today using the options below...