Lone workers in agriculture - whether working with animals or operating machinery - are the most at risk of fatal injury in the UK. Agriculture has a rate of fatal injury 18 times higher than the All Industry rate. Agriculture industries contribute £9.5 billion to the UK’s GDP and our farms and farmers are an essential part of life in the UK.
Even on large farms with numerous employees, people working in agriculture often spend some or all of their day working alone, be that working the fields with heavy vehicles, moving material by hand or corralling cattle. According to the Health and Safety Executive, lone workers in contact with animals, and people over the age of 65 are particularly at risk of injury.
Risks can include:
Working with animals; injuries sustained while working with cattle was the biggest killer in 2017 accounting for eight (24%) of 33 fatalities
Moving vehicles; being struck by tractors, harvesters and other vehicles resulted in six deaths in 2017, alongside the risk of driving these vehicles to account for, safety around moving vehicles is a concern for lone workers
Accident and injury; falls from height resulted in three fatalities in the sector in 2017, being trapped by collapsing equipment or logs resulted in a further three deaths
In a recent incident, a north Wales dairy firm was fined £200,000 after its “informal risk control systems” resulted in a worker suffering severe burns when he was exposed to caustic liquid and steam.
As Rick Brunt Head of Agriculture at HSE said, “the causes of death have remained the same for years and the ways to prevent them are well known and straightforward.”
With the right tools and training, fatalities in the agriculture sector are preventable and it is your organisation’s legal responsibility to put in place policies and procedures to protect your lone workers and reduce the risk of injury. Whether your lone workers are operating heavy vehicles or tending animals, they deserve to be protected.
The riskiest industry for lone workers in the UK requires a robust and multifaceted response. Conduct regular training and risk assessments that involve the insight of your lone workers; be sure to account for seasonal change, updates to animal handling, new vehicles and equipment.
Keep your machinery, equipment and vehicles well maintained and in full working order, providing protective clothing where necessary, and ensure that driving routes are well defined and safe to use.
Consider whether certain tasks require supervision or doubling up of staff in order to be safe. In situations where lone working is necessary, ensure that monitoring and check-in systems are in place to keep lone workers safe and accounted for at all times. Use a lone worker safety and monitoring solution to make this process easy and effective.
Safepoint is functional, intuitive and easy to use. Run the guardian portal from any modern browser and use your existing devices in the field. Keep your lone workers safe wherever they are, without the fuss.
Smart, effective protection
Safepoint offers smart protection for lone workers in the field. Agricultural workers can request help in case of emergency and the app alerts Guardians in the event a task duration expires offering simple, no-nonsense employee safeguarding.
Visibility and real-time updates
Safepoint shares vital safety information including GPS location, battery life and signal strength, instantly keeping Guardians and lone workers updated. Data is only shared during an active task
so lone worker privacy is maintained.
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