This picture clearly shows the wrong way to approach PTOs but it is an all too common site on our farms. In recent years, work-related fatalities in the UK’s farming industries have been disproportionate compared to the number of deaths in other industries.
Poorly used or faulty vehicles and machinery are a major cause of death and serious injury on our farms. Over the past five years, 10% of all fatal injuries in farming were as a result of contact with machinery according to the HSE annual workplace fatality statistics 2016/2017. Farmers come into contact with a variety of machinery on a daily basis, each of which bring their own attendant dangers. Hands, hair and clothing can be caught by unguarded PTO shafts or other unguarded moving parts such as pulleys and belts. People can be injured by front-end loaders, falling from a moving tractor or being struck by its wheels.
Machinery and transport continue to be the main causes of life changing and life ending injuries on farms. Over the past year, there has been some improvement in the numbers of farmers losing their lives as a result of machinery and transport, but the fact is that one death is one too many. Initiatives such as Farm Safety Week, the Farm Safety Foundation’s farm safety training at colleges and with Young Farmers Clubs and the recent Devon Young Farmers Club’s ‘Growing Safer Farmers’ campaign demonstrate that agriculture is an industry who agree that enough is enough and want to make a change.