Farming and Agriculture may look scenic and peaceful, but in reality, statistics show that agriculture work is one of the most dangerous professions in the UK. 67,000 people work in Scottish agriculture according to the National Farmers Union of Scotland. Watermans Solicitors want to spread awareness of accidents which could occur on a farm and the legal rights of employees. Our solicitors have a wide experience of Personal Injury cases. We know how an injury can affect people, so our team are here to help.
Agricultural workers operate heavy specialist equipment and power tools and work through all weather throughout the year. Between 2019 and 2020, 21 farm related deaths were recorded by the Health and Safety Executives (HSE). Fatal injuries amongst agricultural workers are high; they are 18 times more likely to injure themselves than any other worker according to the HSE.
An Employee’s Rights
Many who work on the farm are resistant to make a claim or take time off for their injuries. Their work is essential, and many don’t want to slow down the farm’s production. Several farm workers are also self- employed or are working on a contractor basis. Regardless, you are still entitled to a safe work environment.
Every employer has a duty of care for their employees. Safe working practices must be upheld. Most farms will have insurance to protect the business and employees in these situations. Legally, you cannot be dismissed for claiming against your employer. Though we understand the situation can be difficult, we urge you to contact a solicitor in the event of an accident at work.
Every employer must legally provide the following for their employees:
- Safe working environment and methods
- Sufficient training
- Working equipment
Risk assessments should be regularly done to protect workers. If a fault is flagged by an employee, an employer must assess and resolve the issue in a timely manner.
Accidents on a Farm:
Trips and Falls: This is the most common injury on a farm. Uneven or wet ground may result in a trip for both workers and visitors. Agricultural workers regularly scale barns, balance on silos, and cut down trees. There is a high risk of injury. Working in slurry pits and storage tanks can also cause fatal injuries, such as drowning.
Machinery: The mismanagement of farming tools and heavy machinery, such as tractors and forklifts, can result in serious injuries. Especially if the tools are defective. Farm workers can crash tractors or be injured operating the machinery by trapping a limb in the mechanism. The noise from the tools could also cause damage if workers are not provided with ear protection.
Livestock: Although the animals may look cute, if a worker is not properly trained to handle them, accidents can happen. A kick can be fatal, bites may put someone out of work, and herding could result in being trampled on. Although these injuries are not as common, they do happen.
Exposure to chemicals, asbestos and debris: Exposure to debris, asbestos and dust over a long period of time can cause respiratory issues (known as ‘Farmers Lung’) or even cancer. Long term exposure to pesticides can also cause rashes, vomiting, and breathing problems. An employer must ensure that proper ventilation is installed and should provide gloves, masks, and other protection for their employees.
If you have been injured in a farming accident, contact our legal experts on 0131 555 7055 or 0141 430 7055