Farming is one of the most dangerous jobs in the UK. 

Farm workers are tough, loyal and hard-working. If you work on a farm, you have the right to a safe working environment, just like all other employees in offices or factories. If the correct care is taken, agricultural workers should not come to any harm.

If you have been injured while working on a farm, or you know someone who has, contact us free of charge at Serious Accident Solicitors. You could have grounds to bring a farm accident claim. We can talk things through with you.  

For a free, no obligation enquiry, call us on 0800 024 1400 or fill out our free online enquiry form. 

We have different funding options available. Most of our farm accident claims are handled on a no win, no fee basis. 

Farm accident statistics

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), agriculture has the worst rate of worker fatalities in the UK. In fact, the number of deaths is eighteen times higher than the average rate across all other workplace environments. 

Even where a farm worker does survive an accident, their injuries may be serious in nature. As Judith Hackitt, former chair of the HSE, told the BBC, “people in farming don’t have minor injuries; when they get injured it’s bad.”

Types of agricultural accidents

The most serious hazards on farms are – 

  • Falls from height
  • Mechanised vehicles such as tractors, diggers and harvesters
  • Machinery accidents and electrocution
  • Falling objects
  • Falling into slurry pits or grain silos
  • Animal accidents
  • Lifting and moving heavy objects such as bales of hay and bags of feed
  • Farmer’s lung 

Farms are potentially dangerous places to be, but that does not mean that farm workers have to suffer injuries. Farm workers should operate in a safe work environment, like all other employees. A farm must be as safe as is reasonably practicable. This is the standard that the law expects. 

In addition, there are a range of specific regulations that farm owners must observe to protect their workers. Too often the law is ignored and farm workers pay with their lives or their health.

If you are self-employed, you can still make a claim for an accident at work.  If you have been contracted in by a bigger business and that business controls your working environment and has failed to keep you safe, they may be responsible for your accident.

Machinery accidents

Farm owners are required to make sure that all equipment is properly maintained and in good working order. It must be regularly and competently inspected. The equipment must be suitable for the task in hand. Access to dangerous parts of the machine must be prevented or, if access is needed, the machine must be stopped before any part of a worker’s body reaches the danger zone. Training must be provided to use the equipment, together with adequate supervision.

The use of certain types of equipment must be accompanied by personal protective equipment designed to protect vulnerable parts of the body. This includes the head, face, neck, eyes, ears, respiratory system, skin, arms, hands and feet. This means providing workers with items such as helmets, ear defenders, goggles, masks, gloves, barrier creams, jackets and boots.

Falls from height

On farms, workers are at risk of falling from ladders, ramps, scaffolding, excavations, hoist areas, holes, unprotected sides and edges, roofs, wall openings and other working surfaces.

Protection is also needed to avoid workers falling on dangerous equipment, such as ploughs and bailing machines. Protection should be provided by the simple use of guard rails, safety net systems, personal fall arrest systems and warning line systems. However, far too many farm workers are killed and injured because this simple equipment is not made available.

Mechanised vehicles

Motorised vehicles such as tractors and equipment run from a power take-off can cause injuries. Such equipment must have proper braking equipment and an audible warning system. Lights and reflectors must be fitted if the machinery is used at night. The glass in the cab must be safety glass.

Lifting and moving heavy objects

The law says that the manual handling of heavy loads must be avoided, if possible. Any lifting equipment must be of adequate strength and stability and must be marked to indicate safe working loads. Tasks must be planned, organised and performed by competent people. There should also be ongoing and thorough examinations.

Manual handling is much more than just lifting heavy loads. It means any transportation or supporting of a load, which includes lifting and putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving. It is anything which involves a risk of back injury to workers. On farms, this covers activities such as lifting trailer hitches, moving blocks, bricks, timber, ladders and animals.

Farmers Lung 

Farmer’s lung is also known as allergic alveolitis, hypersensitivity elveolitis and hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

It is caused by breathing in the dust from mouldy hay or crops as over time people can become allergic to this mould. Symptoms include shortness of breath, fever, coughing and chest pains.

Your employer should have put measures in place to reduce the risk of farmer’s lung such as providing proper ventilation, making sure crops are dried properly before storage and providing you with a dust mask. If your employer has failed to do this, you may be able to make a compensation claim.

Farm accident claims

Farm workers are loyal and dedicated and are committed to the welfare of the animals they look after and often work for the same employer for year upon year. The country relies on such workers to produce good food. If you are a farm worker your health should not suffer while you fulfil your duties. The law is there to protect you. 

If you or your loved one has suffered a farm accident, do not hesitate to contact us. 

We understand that you may be anxious about making a claim against your employer. You may have developed a relationship with your employer over many years, as is typical in the agricultural industry. However, it is very unlikely that the farm owner will have to pay anything personally. Any compensation will almost certainly be paid by their insurer. 

In some cases, making a claim against an employer is a delicate matter. Where this is a factor, we will proceed very carefully on your behalf. 

By making a claim, you will be doing your bit to prevent another farm worker suffering a similar injury in future. Employers faced with a claim always look more carefully at their working practices going forward to make sure accidents are not repeated. Many people make a claim for this reason alone.

Farm accident compensation

Because farm accidents are often serious, it might mean that you can no longer work. Or, if a loved one has died, a family will have lost a source of income. This can cause terrible financial difficulties. 

Your compensation settlement will recover any losses you have suffered and provide money for treatment and rehabilitation. This can be extremely important where farm accidents are concerned. If you have had to take time off work, you are likely to be entitled to agricultural sick pay.

This means you should be paid at least the agricultural minimum wage when off work sick. It is likely that this will be less than your normal wage and any difference in pay will form part of your claim.

Damages will be awarded for the injury suffered as well as financial losses. As an example, a serious leg fracture where a worker has been left with a metal implant and a limp and/or nerve damage can attract an award of up to £24,340. 

Severe leg injuries where there is a below-knee amputation of one leg can attract an award up to £116,620.  

A back injury where there has been a disc lesion or the fracture of a disc or a severe soft tissue injury is likely to attract an award of up to £61,140. 

Make a free enquiry

If you want to know more about claiming compensation for a farm accident, contact us at Serious Accident Solicitors. We remove the stress from making a claim. We guarantee that your claim will be progressed as quickly as possible.

We have different funding options available. Most of our farm accident claims are handled on a no win, no fee basis. 

For a free, no obligation enquiry, call us on 0800 024 1400 or fill out our free online enquiry form.

Foreign workers

Workers from other EU nations are protected by all the Health & Safety regulations that apply to UK citizens. Call us for advice on making a claim. We offer a Polish & Romanian translation service.