Figures show increase in South West farm accidents

Farm workers generic
Image caption The farming sector has the worst fatal accident record in the UK

The number of people killed or seriously injured on farms has risen sharply, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Last year in the South West nine farm workers were killed, 85 suffered major injuries and more than 100 sustained minor injuries.

Nationally, major injuries have increased by more than 40% in the past three years.

The Devon Air Ambulance was called out to 32 agricultural accidents last year.

The HSE said agriculture had one of the worst fatal accident records of any major employment sector in the UK.

Hay bale

Less than 1.5% of the working population is employed in farming, but it is responsible for between 15% and 20% of work-related fatalities.

The Devon Air Ambulance Trust said farmers working longer hours and using more complicated machinery could be partially responsible for the rise in its call outs.

In Devon earlier this year, 62-year-old Mike Edwards, a former cellist with the 1970s rock band ELO, was killed in a freak accident when a 600kg hay bale fell from a tractor on farmland and rolled on the road crushing the van he was driving.

The South West region covered by the HSE includes Devon, Cornwall, Isles of Scilly, Bristol, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

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