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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Green MEP calls for greater protection of agricultural workers

The Health and Safety Executive has today published new figures on health and safety in the workplace which reveal that one in five workplace deaths happen in agriculture.

Commenting on the figures, Jean, a member of the European Parliament Employment and Social Affairs Committee, said: “On average, between 40 and 50 workers are killed on British farms every year – almost one person per week.  A man working in agriculture is two and a half times more likely to die going about his job than he is in a car accident. Yet despite such shocking facts, today’s HSE figures show that agriculture continues to have one of the highest fatal accident rates of all industries in the UK.

“In most other industries, deaths and injuries are decreasing but in farming numbers have remained steady over recent years. For many, these injuries are severe and can result in the loss of a limb, the loss of employment and suicidal thoughts.  This not just a problem for farm workers and their families, but for society as a whole.  The hard work and dedication of our agricultural workers puts food on our tables, manages our land, enhances our biodiversity and contributes billions to the economy.  By failing to find concrete, tangible ways of improving farm safety and reducing deaths and injuries, we are letting these workers down.

“We have a duty to find out why these safety measures are not being properly applied in each and every farm both in the UK. In the coming days, I will table a question at the European Parliament to discover just what is being done across the EU to shield farm workers from hazardous situations. We all have an interest in ensuring that this most crucial of businesses is kept safe.”