Accidents in Agriculture & Forestry Claims

Farming is recognised by The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as a hazardous occupation. Whilst it represents approximately 1.8% of the workforce in Great Britain, agriculture ‘accounts for about 19% of the reported fatal injuries each year.’

NewLaw Solicitors has one of the best teams to help you claim compensation if you are involved in an agricultural and /or forestry related accident. 

Below are examples of cases that we can help you claim compensation:

  • if you have been injured by an animal
  • have had an accident involving tractors, harvesters, 4x4 vehicles
  • contracted a disease passed from animals (Zoonoses, for instance Lyme disease, Leptospirosis (including Weil’s disease) and / or farm accident fatalities

Common accidents in agriculture and forestry
According to the HSE, the four most common types of accident on farms involve vehicles and machinery, falls from heights, lifting and handling and hazardous substances.

The most common cause of serious and fatal injuries in agriculture involves moving and overturning vehicles. Other causes of accidents include falling from height (e.g. through fragile roofs and from trees), being trapped between something that has collapsed or overturned, accidents or injuries involving livestock, and asphyxiation or drowning.

The machine most commonly associated with fatalities on farms is the tractor, which is most often as a result of a rollover accident.

Staying safe when working on farms means carrying out risk assessments before starting work, just as in any other industry. The HSE has excellent guidance to help comply with legal duties and, more importantly, to stay safe.  Risk assessment in agriculture should be carried out with a view to:

  • put in place safer working systems
  • providing suitable equipment, including personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary
  • providing appropriate information, instruction and training to everyone who does the work, including those who manage and supervise

    Farm Insurance
    Many people working on farms are self-employed agricultural contractors. The reality is that a large number are in fact employed by the farm in all but name. Whether employed by the farm or not, farms have health and safety duties to people working on them. If you are undertaking work for another person, such as another self-employed contractor, you should check whether they have the right insurance, in case you are injured whilst working for them.

    In its ‘Management of Health and Safety Forestry’ booklet, the HSE recognises forestry is a high-risk activity. A number of health and safety tasks ought to be tackled when managing forestry operations, including:

    • completing risk assessments 
    • selecting suitable equipment for the job 
    • protecting public health and safety 
    • setting out safe working procedures 
    • ensuring people are adequately trained 
    • supervising the work

    The vast majority of fatal and major injuries in tree work occur when a person is using a chainsaw, being struck by a tree or tree branch, or from a fall. Between 1st April 2000 and 31st March 2013 - 60 people have been killed as a result of tree work activities and many more have been injured. Not all accidents are reported, as they should be, to the HSE.

    According to the HSE, around 16% of all reported tree work accidents involve falling from height, and about 6% are due to uncontrolled swings in the tree leading to impact with branches or the tree trunk. The HSE provides some very sobering case studies on fatal tree work accidents. 

    To view the case study click here 

    Chainsaw operators should be properly trained and have the right certificates of competence for their work. The equipment should be properly maintained and they should be wearing the correct chainsaw Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), which should be in good working order. 

    Similarly, the machine operators should be properly trained and any equipment appropriately maintained. Being able to adapt to work in different weathers is important in forestry work, as is being able to work on steep and difficult ground. All of this can be very hazardous.

    Our case studies are typical examples of injuries that can arise in agriculture or forestry.

    How can claiming for compensation can help me?
    At NewLaw we have helped many clients successfully claim for compensation, which has helped them through their recovery process. We can give you access to the best rehabilitation providers and help maximise your recovery after an accident. 

    Can I claim compensation if I am self-employed?
    It is not always immediately clear whether a person is truly an independent contractor or in reality an employee. Much will depend upon the precise circumstances of the relationship concerned. In agriculture and forestry work, a person referred to as being an independent, self-employed contractor is often an employee for the purposes of health and safety legislation. Important factors can include who provided the work equipment and who was responsible for how the work was to be undertaken. To help claim compensation for your agricultural or forestry accident, it is best to contact a qualified and experienced solicitor. 

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