Agriculture and forestry accidents

Agriculture and forestry are high-risk careers.

Agriculture and forestry accidents are commonplace. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures show that the agriculture and forestry sectors are the highest risk occupations in the UK. In 2016/17 this sector had 27 fatal injuries with 13,000 non- fatal injuries occurring.

Most businesses now carry out risk assessments to reduce the number of accidents and incidents. However in agriculture and forestry sector there is still a high number of injuries and deaths. It is one of the sectors where ‘the job needs to be done’.Forestry injury statisiticsPeople work long hours, can be tired and the weather impacts on tasks. Reviews by HSE over the years show that most fatal incidents are caused by trying to save time and cutting corners.

The annual cost of injuries in farming and forestry is estimated at £190 million and around two-thirds of that is due to reportable injuries with fatalities accounting for around another third. This is why agriculture and forestry are high-risk careers.

The main causes of fatal injuries are:

  • Struck by moving vehicles
  • Struck by a moving or falling object, eg bales, trees etc
  • Falls from height
  • Asphyxiation or drowning
  • Injury by an animal
  • Being trapped by something overturning
  • Contact with electricity. 2/3 of which involves overhead power lines

Of the non-fatal injuries the main causes are:

  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Struck by moving objects
  • Falls from height
  • Contact with machinery
  • Being injured by an animal

+F First Aid for forestryAgriculture and forestry are high-risk careers. Worryingly the HSE also report that in the agriculture and forestry sectors only 16% of serious incidents that should be reported via RIDDOR, are reported. That compares to around 50% in all other sectors. HSE estimates that there could be as many as 10 000 unreported injuries in the industry each year.

People working in the sector can also be permanently disabled by ill health. Breathing in dust, handling loads, being exposed to noise or vibration, using chemicals can all cause ill health, with symptoms that can take years to develop. In some cases this can result in premature death.

However, in agriculture musculoskeletal injury (back pain, sprains or strains) is over three times the rate for all industries.

Workers may be exposed to extreme heat, cold, high humidity and radiation from direct and prolonged exposure to the sun (all of which imposes stress on the worker). They may also be exposed to excessive vibration, noise, or may have to work in uncomfortable positions for long periods and handle a wide range of chemicals such as fertilisers or pesticides. Many of those in the industry do not consult their doctor unless seriously ill and so levels of ill health are unclear.

Source: Costs to Britain of workplace injuries and work-related ill health: 2010/11 update HSE 2010.

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A note about RIDDOR – Under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) guidance a reportable incident includes: a death or specified injury; any accident which does not result in a specified injury, but the injured person still has to take more than seven days off their normal work to recover; a work-related disease; a member of the public being injured as a result of work related activity and taken to hospital for treatment; or a dangerous occurrence, which does not result in a serious injury, but could have done.


In order to treat injuries incurred at accidents and incidents workers should have access to a first aid kit and know how to use its contents. First Aid Training Co-operative can deliver sector specific first aid courses. EFAW+F or FAW+F 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. These courses have been developed to comply with Forestry Commission +F as per the “First Aid at Work – Forestry Commission Policy” and fit with FISA best practice.


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 and is included with the purchase of any relevant first aid course.

If you operate in remote locations this means your first aid manual is always in your pocket.


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