Train your workers and send them home safely.

Working in agriculture and horticulture gives considerable job satisfaction. The tasks are often interesting; you can see the result of your own work, watch your crop grow and mature; you have an affinity with nature and can follow the changes in the seasons. Unfortunately agriculture has one of the worst fatal accident and occupational ill-health records of any major employment sector, because of this we are, as a company, fully aware of the importance of horticulture health and safety training.

Less than 1.5% of the working population are employed in agriculture yet the sector is responsible for between 15% and 20% of fatalities to workers each year. The industry also has a rate of self-reported illness which is typically higher than the average for all industries.

For example, the provisional fatal injury rate in agriculture for 2010/11 was 8.0 deaths per 100,000 workers. This compares to a rate of 9.6 when an average of the previous five years is examined – the highest of any industrial sector. Included in the definition of agriculture is horticulture, forestry and other related industries. In mainstream agriculture the area for particular concern is the self-employed.

For example, in the ten-year period from 1999/2000 to 2008/09 a total of 436 people have been killed as a result of agricultural work activities and many more have been injured or suffered ill health.

This means an average of 43 people each year are killed in the industry – almost one death per week!

Of the 436 people killed over the past ten years:

  • 140 were employees (32%)
  • 245 were self-employed (56%)
  • 51 were members of the public, (12%) of which
  • 19 of these were children under the age of 16 years old

The main causes of death to workers continue to be:

  1. Transport (being run over or vehicle overturns) – accounting for 26% of fatalities
  2. Falling from a height (through fragile roofs, trees etc) – 16%
  3. Struck by moving or falling objects (bales, trees etc) – 16%
  4. Asphyxiation/drowning – 10%
  5. Livestock-related fatalities – 10%
  6. Contact with machinery – 8%
  7. Trapped by something collapsing or overturning – 6%
  8. Contact with electricity – 3%

By ensuring that both your agriculture and horticulture workers are comprehensively and professionally trained in all aspects of health and safety you can help reduce these figures dramatically. Please read here for more information.

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posted on August 21, 2013
in Our News
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