Inspectors will be visiting more than 440 farms to try and improve agriculture's poor safety record.

In the past three years, 93 people have been killed in the agricultural industry, 25 of them in the North and Yorkshire, one was a three year old child.

The Health and Safety Executive are now launching inspections on farms as part of a push to change the culture in the industry and check for compliance.

It says people on farms are 21 times more likely to be killed in a workplace accident than any other sector.

The visits will be starting this week and carry on until April 2024. They will focus on the main causes of death in farming including working with cattle, operating and maintaining vehicles and falls from heights.

They will also look at risks to the public, which often means the management of cattle around public rights of way, as well as child safety on the farm.

The HSE’s Kathy Gostick, who is one of the inspectors who will be visiting farms, said: “We will not only be checking farmers’ knowledge of risk but also making sure they understand their responsibility to themselves and others. We will look at actions they have taken to control these risks and comply with the law.”

The inspector warned although the number of deaths in the agricultural sector has fallen by about half since the early 1980s, the rate of fatalities, based on the number of people at work in the sector, has remained stubbornly high, much higher than comparable industries.

She called on farmers to stop and think differently about their own and other peoples’ safety.

“There are simply too many tragedies in farming and it is time for that to change.

“We are committed to making workplaces safer and healthier and that includes agriculture, we will do this by highlighting the risks, providing advice and guidance, and by holding employers to account for their actions.

“This means changing attitudes towards safety, it is the only way we will reduce the numbers of people being injured or killed.

“These upcoming inspections will help drive home the message that the only way we can bring down the deaths is if we change behaviour.”

Guidelines include:

  • When using and maintaining vehicles consider ‘Safe Farm, Safe Driver, Safe Vehicle’ and follow ‘Safe Stop’ and use adequate props during maintenance.
  • When handling cattle ensure good handling facilities are in place and used and that you have considered protection of members of the public when cattle are kept in a field with public access.
  • When considering working at height; avoid doing the work yourself, use a professional contractor instead. Don’t ever be tempted to use the wrong equipment, being lifted on the forks or bucket of a telehandler or fork lift truck is illegal. As is walking or working on fragile roof materials.
  • When considering children on farms, try and avoid them being there in the first place and if not then full and complete supervision is required.