We completely understand why it’s easy for people to fall into the trap of thinking that health and safety is needless red tape but it really does save lives.
The awful truth is during 2020-2021 more than 140 people were killed in work accidents across Great Britain.
More half of these fatal injuries were suffered by people working in Agriculture, forestry and fishing and the Construction sectors. However, taking account of differing employment levels between sectors, the rate of fatal injury per 100,000 workers is greatest in Agriculture, forestry and fishing and Waste and recycling.
Sadly, last month we were reminded once more how dangerous the agriculture sector can be.
Farm worker dies following health and safety breach
Last month, a farming partnership was fined after a farm worker was fatally injured following an incident involving a telehandler within a pig barn.
Weston Super Mare Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 17 October 2019, Andrew Denning, a self-employed farm worker, was helping with the mucking-out and animal welfare checks inside a large pig shed.
Mr Denning was working in close proximity to a telehandler, fitted with a bucket, which was scraping the muck from the floor using multiple short manoeuvres. Mr Denning was struck by telehandler and killed as it reversed.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that C M Stone failed to ensure a safe system of work. Staff working within the shed were not adequately segregated from the machine so far as was reasonably practicable.
CM Stone of The Yards, Woolavington Puriton, Bridgwater, pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. The company was fined £53,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,000.
Speaking after the case HSE inspector William Powell commented: “The system of work used at this farm was not safe. Simple measures to keep pedestrians and large farm vehicles properly separated could have prevented Mr Denning’s death.
“Being struck by a moving vehicle has been the biggest cause of workplace fatalities on farms for several years. Farmers should properly assess their workplace transport risks and separate people and vehicles where reasonably practicable. HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”
Common health and safety incidents
This sad case shows how dangerous it can be to work in the agriculture industry if health and safety rules are not followed.
It is also an example of one of the most common causes of workplace fatalities in Great Britain – being stuck by a moving vehicle.
According to the latest information from the HSE, in 2020-2021 being hit by a moving vehicle was the second largest cause of fatal accident for British workers.
It accounted for 25 of the 142 workplace deaths during 2020-2021 – representing 18% of the total number of deaths.
In fact, according to the HSE, there are more than 5,000 incidents involving transport in the workplace. The HSE says that to manage the risks of all workplace transport effectively, organisations should begin by considering three key areas – safe site, safe vehicle and safe driver.
To get people on the right track, the HSE has also produced some basic Dos and Don’ts which include do keep people and vehicles apart, do have clear site rules and enforce them, do anchor loads securely to the vehicle chassis, do avoid the need to work at height on vehicles and don’t operate vehicles unless you are authorised to do so.
It also has pages and pages of advice on its website relating to vehicle and transport safety at work and has created several publications and checklists to help organisations, including Workplace Transport Safety – An Overview and Workplace Transport Safety – Employer’s Guide.
Where can I go for help?
As we’ve said there is lots of useful advice about transport on the HSE website to help organisations ensure they don’t breach health and safety law and put lives at risk. It is vital that this advice is followed to protect workers and to protect companies and bosses and managers from prosecution.
However, we also realise that the amount of advice that there is to follow can give bosses another headache. How do they find the time to take on board all this health and safety information, ensure they have the right processes in place on the ground and manage their day-to-day business?
It’s when bosses start trying to juggle these different parts of their business that they can begin to see health and safety as just another headache or as needless red tape.
That is where Acorn’s professional health and safety consultants come in. We can take away firms’ health and safety headaches and make sure that everything is done to ensure people go home safe and organisations are protected from prosecutions.
We provide a full suite of health and safety services, including our Retained Health and Safety Consultant Service. This is one of most valued services because it protects bosses from the onslaught of changing health and safety government regulation without them having to deal with the expensive overheads associated with a full-time employee.
We help business owners become health and safety compliant in the shortest time possible, supporting them, their business and their employees on an ongoing basis.