Health and Safety Executive (UK)

Keeping alive − a new year`s resolution for farmers in Wales


Source: Health and Safety Executive (UK)

Farmers across Wales are being encouraged to make their New Year's resolution a promise to come home safe from the field.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched the next phase in its 'Make the Promise' campaign at an agriculture safety day at Welshpool Livestock Market with the stark message that people are still dying in needless farm accidents.

Across Great Britain, 38 people lost their lives in farming-related incidents from January to November 2009 (see notes to editors).

Recently finalised figures for 2008/09 show that 2,435 people were seriously injured in farming accidents, 84 of them in Wales.

Nearly 1,300 farmers in Wales have already signed up to the campaign. More are now being encouraged to do the same.

Judith Donovan, HSE board member and its agriculture champion, said :

'For those 15,000 farmers we know have made the promise to come home safe, and the many more who may have made the pledge privately, the challenge for them now is to keep it, particularly when they're battling the weather or working to tight timescales. Losing concentration or taking seemingly harmless shortcuts is when horrific accidents can happen.'

'To those farmers yet to make the promise, we encourage them to do it not only for themselves, but for their family and their livelihoods.

'Over the last 10 years, 455 lives have been lost on British farms - that's hundreds of families and farms devastated. Let's make 2010 the year that everyone comes home safe.'

NFU Cymru President, Dai Davies, said farm safety was a serious concern and any campaign that helped raise awareness of the problems was welcome.

'Any death is one death too many, yet all too frequently someone dies in a farm accident. These accidents destroy lives, whole families and often farm businesses. This campaign is of massive importance to the farming industry. Anything that raises awareness of the dangers farmers and farm workers face and helps identify the activities where farmers are most at risk can only have a positive impact.'

Added Terry Rose regional director for Wales and the South West

'All too often we're having to investigate deaths or serious injuries in and around farms in Wales. We see first hand the terrible grief that families face when someone is killed, and it is heartbreaking - particularly when farmers keep dying for the same reasons.

'We offer farmers training, support and guidance on how to keep themselves and their workers safe and we'd much rather be doing that than dealing with the horrific consequences of accidents, many of which are preventable.'

Although only about 1.5 per cent of the working population works in agriculture, the industry accounts for one in five work-related deaths every year.

As part of the campaign, farmers can request 'Promise Knots' to place around their homes and farms as a simple, but ever-present reminder of the commitment they have made to come home safe.

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