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Agriculture remains one of the most dangerous sectors

View profile for Tamsyn Stuart
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Every employee has the right to work in a safe and healthy environment. All employers have a duty of care to ensure that their workplace is safe and employees are provided with the necessary equipment to carry out their duties safely.

The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) has released statistics which demonstrate that the most dangerous working sectors are agriculture, forestry and fishing.  The statistics suggest that 4% of workers in these sectors have sustained work related injuries, illness and disease. This is 50% higher than all other occupations. Unfortunately, the statistics also show that there were 29 reported deaths in 2015/16 caused by fire, tripping in the workplace, drowning, incidents involving farm vehicles, animal injuries and falls from height.

In February this year Farming UK reported that there were ten farming fatalities, one of which sadly involved a child.  The National Farmers Union Vice President, Guy Smith, commented that “Accidents involving vehicles are the most common cause of fatal injury in agriculture and in February were the cause of the majority of recorded farm deaths.”

Employees and their families expect to be able to return home uninjured after a day’s work.  However, if the unexpected does happen no one should struggle financially due to inability to work caused by injuries sustained at work.  Employees have the right to be returned to the financial position that they would have been in but for the injury and compensate them for any physical and/or psychological harm incurred.

The Personal Injury team has acted on behalf of a number of people involved in accidents at work from minor to catastrophic claims.  A recent example involves a serious hand injury caused by the operation of an edging machine.  Our client was instructed to operate the machinery without having received any training from his employer.   He was feeding wood through the machine when suddenly the wood shot back and penetrated his middle finger.  Our client underwent surgery to remove the splint and repair his damaged tendons and nerves. 

The claim was successful against the claimant’s employers and compensation was recovered.  His employers accepted that our client had not received specific training on how to operate the machine; he had been left unsupervised and did not have access to protective clothing which may have minimised the extent of the injury.