Safety campaigners are urging farmers to take care this harvest – after figures showing that agriculture remains the UK’s most dangerous industry.
Some 25 people were killed on UK farms over the past year, according to the Health and Safety Executive. But 25,000 more suffered long term ill-health conditions – including excessive sun exposure to farmers, contractors and tractor drivers.
But 25,000 more suffered long term ill-health conditions – including work-related injuries.
The Farm Safety Foundation said the outdoor nature of the job meant working in agriculture involved spending a lot of time outside – with farmers receiving 5-10 times the yearly sun exposure compared to people who work indoors.
More than half of all respondents to a survey of agricultural workers undertaken in 2017 recognised that protecting themselves from the sun was very important. But more than 25% said they hardly ever used sunscreen, according to a recent survey.
While construction workers have the highest number of fatalities due to sun exposure, working in agriculture is second highest and accounts for 23% of these deaths. That’s around one farm worker every month dying from skin cancer due to sun exposure.
Farmers need to protect themselves when working outdoors, said Stephanie Berkeley of the Farm Safety Foundation – especially when ultraviolet rays are at their highest between 11am and 3pm.