Agricultural incidents; safety and use of machinery

Agricultural and Forestry incidents; safety and use of machinery

Figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have confirmed agriculture as the most dangerous industry in the UK. The headline figures make challenging reading:

  • A total of 27 fatal injuries to agricultural workers were recorded across the UK in 2016
  • Farm workers are 18 times more likely to die at work than the overall industry rate
  • Older workers are more at risk – around a quarter of fatal injuries in 2016/17 were to workers aged 60 or over, even though such workers made up only around 10% of the workforce
  • Between 2006 and 2016 there were 98 vehicle fatalities
  • 36 of the 98 were caused by the operator being run over by his own vehicle

tractor first aidHSE has produced a number of case studies from fatalities over the past few years –

  • A 58 year old was run over by a forestry forwarder. It is assumed that he either dismounted the moving vehicle and was then run over or the vehicle rolled down the hill and ran him over. When discovered the vehicle was on its roof. He died from multiple crush injuries.

·      A 60 year old forestry worker was trapped underneath an overturned tractor. He was felling a tree using a tractor .The tractor was being used to support and then push over the tree. As the felling cut was completed, the tree spun around causing the tractor to overturn. He was crushed under the wheel and the cab.

· A 51 year old self employed farmer sustained fatal head and chest injuries when he fell from a bucket attached to a telehandler. His son was driving the telehandler and was being used as an elevated platform to fell a tree.

Those involved in the sector, including those who hire machinery and use machinery rings should take notice of the following safety information. The industry’s age profile, regular work with heavy machinery, a tendency to work in isolation and with an ‘always done it that way’ or ‘need to get the job done’ attitude means the risk is high.

Many accidents can be anticipated. Workers should be encouraged to ‘stop and think’ before undertaking a task and do a risk assessment of the job before starting.

The HSE is a supporter of the ‘safe stop’ procedure of:

  • Handbrake on
  • Controls in neutral
  • Engine off
  • Key out

These steps should be applied before leaving the drivers seat or if anyone approaches the vehicle.

Other key points to reduce the number of incidents are;

  • Never attempt to start a vehicle or machine, other than from the driving position
  • Maintenance work must not be carried out on, or under, a machine or whilst a machine is running or the keys in the ignition and controls engaged

It would also be a good idea to know what to do if there was an incident. First Aid Training Co-operative can deliver sector specific first aid courses for you at your chosen venue or if you are a smaller operator you can send staff on one of our public EFAW+F courses.

+F is a generic term mean ‘+ Forestry operations’. These courses are also relevant to many outdoor workers employed in the agriculture or horticulture sectors, landscaping and grounds maintenance, gillies and stalkers, plus fencing and machinery contractors.

Our First Aid +F courses build on the skills from Emergency First Aid at Work or First Aid at Work first aid training to provide scenario based, practical first aid skills and knowledge. These courses are some of the best in the industry and include dealing with catastrophic bleeding, crushing injury, Lyme disease, hypothermia and Emergency Action Planning.


Digital outdoor first aid manualFirst Aid Training Co-operative has also developed a digital first aid manual, which can be purchased online and downloaded to your phone or tablet so it is available to you where ever you are. This is a specialist first aid manual for those working in outdoor remote environments. If you operate in remote locations this means your first aid manual is always in your pocket.

The manual is free if you join one of our courses.