Workplace Report June 2021

Health & safety - HSE Monitor

Agricultural deaths rise prompts action call

Workplace agricultural deaths have risen sharply from 20 in the whole of 2019/20 to 33 already in 2020/21 by the third week of February – a 61% increase. The sector is already considered to be the most dangerous in the UK, with fatalities 18 times higher than the national average.

Unite called for urgent action to improve safety by government, the HSE and agricultural employers, including an increase in inspections, enforcement activity and prosecutions. It is also calling for the creation of a system of accredited roving safety representatives.

“One death is one too many and the mindset that death and serious injury is an occupational hazard in agriculture must be entirely eradicated,” said Unite national officer for agriculture Bev Clarkson. “The high number of fatalities demonstrates that far too many employers are willing to cut corners or ignore safety rules.”

She added: “Only the genuine fear of prosecution will drag the worst employers into line and ensure that workers are better protected.”