Fatalities fall but cost of serious farm accidents continues to rise

As the Health & Safety Executive announces a fall in fatalities on British farms, NFU Mutual, the UK’s leading rural insurer, is urging the farming community not to become complacent.

The Health & Safety Executive revealed today that farm deaths have fallen from last year’s figures.

The insurer, the UK’s leading rural insurer, welcomed the fall in the number of fatalities but warned that the number and cost of serious farm accidents remains high.

Commenting on the figures, NFU Mutual Chairman, Richard Percy said: “Whilst we welcome the small but significant reduction in fatalities, our claims data shows that the farming community is still not winning its battle with farm accidents as the number of serious accidents (where someone suffers a life-changing injury and may require a lifetime of specialist care), remains high.

“I, like many farmers, have witnessed the devastation that farm accidents cause and I shudder to think what would happen to most family farms if a key family member was killed or injured in a farm accident. I can imagine the devastating impact such an incident would have – both emotionally and financially – in my own family business. That is why working safely and looking out for one another is so important.”

Accidents involving machinery (including injuries caused by PTO shafts) were the most common and costly farm injury and fatality claims during 2013, costing over £19 million. However, falls (including falls from height) and injuries sustained whilst handling livestock are also of serious concern.

Falls from height, like accidents with machinery, usually result in very serious life-changing injuries and the cost of claims in 2013 reached over £3.7 million but the emotional cost of these injuries is immeasurable.

Livestock related injuries and fatalities cost over £2.5 million, with 87% of livestock-related injuries being caused by cattle.

Working alongside the Farm Safety Partnerships around the UK, NFU Mutual is committed to reducing the number of farm fatalities and accidents and recently formed its Farm Safety Foundation to help educate and support farmers. With an initial donation of £250,000 and a commitment to provide substantial funding for this foundation for the next five years, NFU Mutual hopes to address the emotional and financial devastation caused by farm accidents, as NFU Mutual Chairman, Richard Percy explains:

“We have to remember that behind each statistic is a family tragedy and that’s why we are determined to drive down the number of fatalities and accidents on UK farms. We have a modern, professional and dynamic farming industry in the UK and we are respected around the world for our welfare standards and our innovation. We need to apply this professionalism to our own safety and the safety of our employees and family members.”

Members of NFU Mutual’s Farm Safety Foundation are at The Livestock Event at the Birmingham NEC, to distribute safety information to the public as part of the Yellow Wellies farm safety campaign.

As part of the Yellow Wellies campaign and to encourage farmers to work safely, a pair of giant yellow wellies, emblazoned with the slogan ‘who would fill your boots?’ stand as a poignant reminder of the emotional and financial effect that farm accidents have on farming families across the UK.

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