MORE agricultural fatalities occurred in Yorkshire and the Humber than any other part of the UK during the past year.

Of the 29 fatalities during 2017-2018, 21 per cent occurred in the region followed by 18 per cent in Wales and 15 per cent in Scotland and the South West.

The new Health and Safety (HSE) statistics were released on Monday, the first day of Farm Safety Week. It showed farming had the highest rate of fatalities of all the main industries – about18 times higher.

Nationally, almost half the workers killed were aged over 65.

Animals were the main cause of fatal accidents among farm workers (24 per cent) followed by being struck by farm vehicles, such as tractors or trailers (18 per cent); trapped by something collapsing (15 per cent) and being struck by objects such as bales and tree branches (12 per cent).

Farm Safety Week is led by award-winning charity, the Farm Safety Foundation supported by the Health & Safety Executive.

This year it is also focusing on child safety on farms – two of the fatalities involved children.

Stephanie Berkeley, from the Farm Safety Foundation, said: “Farms can be wonderful places for children to grow up, but the sad fact is that farms are the only workplace where children continue to die, which is heart-breaking for the families involved and a horrific tragedy for their communities.

“We want to highlight the importance of child safety on farms and urge farming families to talk openly about farm safety and make it their priority.”

She said 48 per cent of those killed were aged over 65.

“Unlike other occupations, farmers don’t tend to retire at 65 and often work well into their 80s. Factors such as health, agility and stubbornness combine with risk-taking, fatigue and improperly maintained machinery to create this ‘risk’ nightmare.

“Over the past five years we have asked farmers to stop and think. We have delivered successful awareness campaigns such as Mind Your Head and Who Would Fill Your Boots? We can continue to make powerful and emotive films and offer advice and guidance but we can’t do one thing. We can’t make farmers change their attitude.

“Only they can make that change. They have to want to change. They have to decide to change. They have to play their part. They have to take responsibility.”

n The NFU said many members were taking to social media to champion Farm Safety Week and were holding safety events on their farms.

Stuart Roberts, NFU vice-president and chairman of the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP), said: “Today’s report by the HSE serves to reinforce that further action is needed to improve our poor safety record. With the relaunch of the FSP earlier this year, the industry is working together to ensure real changes are made.”

During the week the NFU has provided online content targeting different areas of farm safety each day. They have included keeping children safe on farm, raising awareness of the importance of mental wellbeing and sharing good practice.

For information on Farm Safety Week, visit or follow @yellowwelliesUK on Twitter/Facebook using #FarmSafetyWeek.