Safety drive to prevent deaths and injuries on East Anglian farms at harvest time

PUBLISHED: 13:21 18 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:21 18 June 2019

The NFU is running a series of pre-harvest health and safety workshops for farmers. Picture: Mike Page

The NFU is running a series of pre-harvest health and safety workshops for farmers. Picture: Mike Page

Mike Page 01603 712410

As the busiest time of year looms for one of East Anglia's most dangerous industries, a pre-harvest safety drive has been launched to improve agriculture's woeful accident record.

A series of workshops will be held across the region, starting next week, as part of a wider campaign to reduce the toll of fatalities and serious injuries on farms.

The events, open to National Farmers' Union (NFU) members and their staff, will focus on key topics including trailer safety, workplace transport, vehicle speeds, weights and licence requirements.

UK Power Networks will discuss safety around power lines and there will also be presentations by fire services about fire and arson prevention.

NFU vice president Stuart Roberts, who is attending the first event near Bury St Edmunds on June 27, said: "The health and safety record of agriculture is something the industry should be embarrassed about. However, I am seeing signs that farm businesses are starting to respond to this issue in a positive way.

"Initiatives such as these farm safety workshops are starting to have a positive effect in changing the culture of the industry and I would urge farmers and farm workers to take time to attend.

"Together, we can help to drive safety forward, reducing the risk of accidents and making our industry the safest it can be."

Figures from the Health and Safety Executive show there were 33 deaths in agriculture last year. Statistically, agriculture is the most dangerous industry, with 8.44 deaths per 100,000 employed, compared with an all-industry average of 0.45 deaths per 100,000.

NFU East Anglia county network manager Adam Scott said: "Everyone in farming will know of someone who has been killed, or seriously injured, in an agricultural accident and the impact this has on their business but, more importantly, on their family, staff and friends.

"Farmers are extremely busy ahead of harvest, but a few hours spent at one of these workshops will be time well spent. It could, literally, be a life-saver."

Each of the five event starts from 9am and finishes at about 1pm:

- Thursday 27 June, Symonds Farm, Bury St Edmunds, IP28 6RE.

- Friday 28 June, Crondon Hall, Margaretting, near Chelmsford, CM4 9JU.

- Tuesday 2 July, Wype Doles Farm, Whittlesey, near Peterborough, PE7 2HL.

- Wednesday 3 July, Wood Farm, Marsham, near Aylsham, NR10 5QQ.

- Friday 5 July, Thrift Farm, Royston, SG8 9NN.

NFU members need to book by contacting or 01638 672100.

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